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Iowa Mudslide

Posted August 11th, 2010
by Staff (no comments)

One day you’re sitting on the back porch of your $500,000 home watching the sun set over Lake Delhi in Iowa’s Delaware County, thinking about maybe taking your boat out later in the week if the weather’s right. The next day you’re staring at an enormous mudflat from the back porch of your $95,000 home, and wondering where Lake Delhi went. Sure, some of it’s still in your living room, but for an entire Lake to just vanish like that is crazy. But, it’s exactly what happened when the dam burst recently, damaging homes, businesses, boats, and more. Hopefully you had boat insurance.

No insurance policy in the world is ever going to restore the value of the 1,000 houses and cabins built on Lake Delhi, of course. Even the ones that weren’t damaged have suffered the ignoble fate of being instantly transformed from lakefront property with a view to Mudville. And face it, who wants a piece of land on a mud flat?

Lake Delhi was formed when the dam was constructed over 80 years ago, and has been one of the area’s best recreation areas ever since. The dam hasn’t been used to produce electricity in a long time, but boaters and sportsmen have certainly enjoyed the lake.

Those with boat insurance can probably find another lake for their new boat, while those without it will likely do without for a while. At the very least, they’ll have to search through 9 miles of muddy hell to find their boats.

With any luck, the dam will be rebuilt. Federal programs may pay for as much as 75% of the rebuilding process, with the state of Iowa kicking in 10% and the local homeowners association and governing bodies kicking in the final 15%. What’s 15% on a dam cost nowadays, anyway? We’re not sure, but our guess would be somewhere around a hell of a lot. If the federal money is not granted (pending it being declared a disaster), it is unlikely the area will be able to afford to rebuild the dam. Even if they are, it will be quite some time before anyone pilots a boat on the new Lake Delhi.

This all goes to show you that anything can happen. It doesn’t pay to skimp on insurance coverages, be they home owner’s, boat insurance, or any other. After all, the last thing you want to worry about when you’re looking at a mudslide where the lake in your back yard used to be is whether or not you can fix or replace your boat.

Photo via mikecogh


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