Flooding in Santa Cruz County and the City of Nogales is caused by a large number of sources including the Santa Cruz River, the Nogales Wash/Potrero Creek, Ephraim Canyon/Western Avenue Wash, Sonoita Creek, Peck Canyon, Agua Fria Canyon, and all their tributaries. Flooding along these systems can cover many hundreds of acres of land, with depths up to four to eight feet deep along the listed water courses. For the tributaries, floodwaters may not be as deep, but they still can cover streets and yards and can flood cars, garages, and buildings.
Flooding in all areas of the County can occur with little or no warning, however, flooding in Santa Cruz County tends to result from two weather patterns. Smaller water courses, such as the Nogales Wash/Potrero Creek, tend to flood very quickly (flash flood) both during and after the passage of an intense thunderstorm within the watershed. This most commonly occurs during the Monsoons of June through September. Water within the washes rises very quickly, moves rather fast, and carries a large amount of debris which can be extremely dangerous to anyone attempting to cross through the flood waters. Large water courses, such as the Santa Cruz River and Sonoita Creek, tend to flood as a result of either slow moving Pacific storms, or dying tropical systems from the eastern Pacific Ocean that result in several inches of rain over a period of days. This is most commonly happens between the months of October to March. Although flooding in Santa Cruz County tends to occur during these two periods, flooding can occur at any time during the year.
Many people attempt to protect their property from flooding by attempting to prevent the water from entering their property at the property boundaries. This practice is actually a violation of Federal, State, and Local regulations, and can subject the property owner to civil and criminal penalties. The Santa Cruz County Flood Control District understands the desire to protect one’s property from the ravages of flooding. The District can, through the process of a Site Review, provide recommendations for how property owners can protect their property and possessions from flooding. The property owner simply needs to contact the District and submit a Site Review Application, stating that they want flood protection advice. If requested, the Santa Cruz County Flood Control District will visit a property to review its flood problem and explain ways to stop flooding or prevent flood damages. Call the District at 375-7830 for further information. These services are free to the public. PLEASE NOTE – ANY AND ALL CONSTRUCTION (BUILDINGS, FENCES, WALLS, ETC) AND FILL ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE REGULATORY FLOODPLAIN REQUIRES A FLOODPLAIN USE PERMIT PRIOR TO THE START OF WORK.
In addition, on this site, there are various links and informational pieces that can help the property owner look at their options when it comes to flood proofing their property. This includes lists of local Arizona Registered Professional Engineers and Contractors who may be able to provide expertise in flood protection measures. The public is advised that the inclusion or exclusion of any engineer or contractor from these lists does not in anyway indicate a recommendation for or against any individual or firm. The list simply represents the individuals or firms known to be active within the County.
Please note, there is no guarantee that any degree of protective action will protect a given property from all flood and flood related damages. If you do not have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However, because Santa Cruz County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. This insurance is backed by the Federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have been flooded in the past. Don’t wait for the next flood to buy insurance protection. There is a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage.
Santa Cruz Flood Control District
Open 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Monday through Thursday