During the week of October 3-4 in 2015, Columbia and most of the Midlands experienced a natural disaster unlike any seen in modern history, as a weather system brought historic flooding to the region. More than 20 inches of rain were reported in parts of the Midlands in what was dubbed a “thousand year flood.” 

An embankment breach of the Columbia Canal threatened the drinking supply for thousands of Columbia residents. Through the heroic efforts of many, the Columbia Canal Water Treatment Plant remained in operation and continued to supply drinking water to all its customers throughout the ordeal. However, permanent repairs to the canal have been delayed for years. Until now. This page will serve as a resource to provide information and updates on the progress of repairs to the Canal. 


The City of Columbia/Columbia Water announced in 2020 that they have come to a fundamental agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance program on the scope of damage to the Columbia Canal from the historic flooding. This fundamental agreement is the culmination of years of negotiations with the federal agency and signals the beginning of the repair process for the canal and hydroelectric plant.

Both the City and FEMA have identified an estimated $42 million in damages as a result of the 2015 historic floods. The scope of work includes repairing the breach to the canal, fixing flood-damaged sections of the canal embankment and repairing elements of the hydroelectric plant at the south end of the canal to return green power to the City of Columbia.

Additional necessary work that does not fall under FEMA’s purview is replacing the headgates at the north end of the canal. However, a separate federal funding source is being sought for those repairs.

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Oct. 2015 - Flood Aftermath at the Canal Plant