HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas – The mid-valley had severe flooding each of the last two summers, but city and county officials have made improvements to prepare for severe weather.
Although it will take some time for major drainage projects to be complete, Hidalgo County Precinct 1 and the City of Weslaco said there are projects they’ve already started on like the detention facility near the Las Brisas and Chapa subdivision that are helping with their response to flooding.
“We saw it in the floodings of 2019 where that retention system, even though it was not complete actually impacted us in the sense that it was able to hold that water so we did not see the numbers that we could have seen if that system had not been placed,” said Antonio Lopez, fire chief and emergency management coordinator for the city of Weslaco.
Hidalgo County Precinct 1 Commissioner David Fuentes said there are other improvements on the way as well.
“We’ve had a couple of other projects where we’ve put in some bar ditching, we’ve made some crossing improvements, we put in larger pipes for conveyance of water,” said Fuentes.
After facing two years of severe flooding, both the city and county have changed the way they operate.
“One of the things that we’ve done is tracking the cleaning of those ditches so we have drainage crews that are doing that continuously throughout the year,” said Lopez. “We’re not doing it in January continuing on to hurricane season, we’re doing that everyday.”
“We’re hiring some temporary staff that will just be focused on cleaning ditches and making sure that we’re inspecting a lot of the drainage ditches,” said Fuentes.
The city and county encourages the public to keep curbs and gutters clear of trash or debris that could create drainage issues in the long run.