MADISON COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – On Wednesday, Madison County officials provided an update on plans to stop flooding across the county, especially in the City of Canton.

In August 2022, flooding damaged homes and businesses in the city. Since then, county and city officials developed a five-year plan to stop the flooding. Engineers identified 42 drainage problem areas across the county, including seven sites in Canton.

Planning began in December 2022, and engineers hope to start the design phase within the next seven months.

“We can either hold it back, that means you build a big flood prevention dam or structure to hold it back, and release it after the rain is gone, or you can remove the water faster. You can build huge, wide channels all the way to the river, or you can remove the risk,” said Bill McDonald, chief technical officer for Waggoner Engineering.

Along with flood prevention in the Bear Creek watershed, a recreation park could also be developed around a new water retention area.

One of the biggest concerns about the project was the timeframe. Engineers understand that residents want to see the project completed sooner rather than later, but they said environmental surveys are a tedious process.

“We understand and recognize there is a dire need to address the flooding in Canton. We’re aggressive, and we’ve identified resources to where we can move toward getting this done quicker,” said Darion Warren, project manager for Waggoner Engineering.

Another concern is the possibility of homes being bought out to complete the project. However, Madison County District 4 Supervisor Karl Banks said it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.

“It could be a few houses. We’ve seen that here in Canton. Along Dinkins Street, we had properties bought out because of concerns of flooding, and to me, I believe it was shortsighted in terms of the plans that they had back in those days. They didn’t look at the whole watershed,” said Banks.

The supervisors added that $23.5 million in federal dollars for the project will come from the National Resources Conservation Service.