If the level of Horseshoe Lake is too high, it doesn't matter what size conduit was added by anyone; water still drains from high to low. In order to drain any area, one must ensure that a differential exists between the bodies. The larger the differential, the faster the transfer.
In 2017 much work was done by MESD in Elm Slough to clear the overland path Long Lake uses to discharge it's excess water into Horseshoe Lake. That, with MESD pump repairs, improvements funded by Pontoon Beach and vigilance on maintaining Lake levels all worked to improve things on Long Lake. The most important of these was increasing the differential between the bodies of water; so successful, a perverse and unfortunate form of success presented itself... communities that previously were underwater were not, and communities that had interior infrastructure problems (Granite City) stood out. In the old days, everyone would be underwater together.
Lasting improvement to these communities will
slowly disappear as both Horseshoe Lake and Long Lake silt in, and Long Lake in particular, needs a $5M project to link the bodies of water down Lake Drive. As these bodies silt, more and more water runs off rather than stored. Horseshoe is in silted condition, but will still store over 1 billion gallons of water short term if necessary.
The path to solvency for MESD was hard, and our success was to the credit of many good employees working together. Yes, the bluff communities contribute little or nothing to dispose of the storm water they send us, but the real reason MESD was insolvent was in St.Clair County. Since 1977, the property values have crashed 80%. It was vital that we trimmed expenses, and we did that; however, the most compelling statistic is that today, Madison County taxpayers pay 80 cents of every tax dollar spent at MESD. (sic) The amount of tax dollars sent annually does not even cover the electricity spent in St. Clair County. High tax rates, irresponsible elected officials and TIF districts are to blame, but disadvantaged residents did not create those problems.
I understand the issues revolving around flooding in the American Bottoms and indeed have a great team whom only needed direction to achieve the success we have seen at MESD. There are historical reasons why we are here now, and to remain habitable, we need to pay close attention to the systems that allow us to do so. Interior drainage must be maintained just as the levees protect us.
If anyone wishes to discuss any of these issues or different ways to improve this areas drainage, please contact me; this is an anonymous dialogue, really...the freest form of speech if we think about it. I would be happy to talk confidentially if it would move progress forward. We have too many challenges for such a talented group to ignore. S