Rio Grande Valley leaders and state officials gathered in Edinburg Friday to solidify the groundbreaking of the Raymondville Drain Project.
The drainage project that’s been in the works for 30 years will stretch 63 miles to divert water from the Lake Edinburg area through Willacy County and into the Laguna Madre.
“So how would it benefit? Immediate impact–three times the level of capacity of floodwaters will at least be received for Willacy. Not just add what we delay by capturing our floodwater and delaying it from going downstream,” said Hidalgo County commissioner Joseph Palacios.
The 50-foot Raymondville ditch will be expanded to allow more drainage to flow in. In total, the 63-mile drainage project will cost up to $400 million.
“This project, which very well may be, the single most important flood control project in the state of Texas,” said Texas Water Development Board chairman Bech Bruun.
Palacios says the federal government will reimburse local Valley governments 75 percent of the entire cost of construction.
“The recent success that we’ve had in garnering state and federal funds. We’ve acquired almost $17 million releasing the burden off our local taxpayer, so it’s very exciting times for us,” said Palacios.
Phase one of the five-phase project will begin within the next few weeks, Palacios said.