RGV cities, counties receive millions to improve drainage systems, hurricane season ahead

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — According to drainage experts, the Rio Grande Valley is in a delta, causing any consistent rainwater to puddle. After Hurricane Hanna in 2018, counties and cities have taken steps to improve their drainage systems. 

“The average slope here is a foot per mile, so water here runs very slowly,” said Alan Moore, general manager of Cameron County Drainage District 5.  

Some city officials say that even light rains can caused flooding in their area.

Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina said that some parts of the city have never had drainage systems.  

“You know any rain—whether that be a light rain or heavy rain—there have been parts of Edinburg that have severely flooded,” said Molina.  

Hidalgo County is working with a $190 million bond to expand the south main drainage system, which will double the original ditch’s holding capacity to 358,922,386 gallons.  

Detention facilities, or detention basins, are meant to hold spill-over rainwater from ditches.

Hidalgo County’s drainage district 1’s General Manager Raul Sesin told KVEO that thanks to the bond issuance in 2018, the district is proposing almost 500 acres of detention facilities.

“A little under 90% of [the detention facilities] are located in Precinct 1,” said Sesin.

Cameron County currently has $17.7 million for three expansion programs underway. 

“For all of our systems, our ditches drain to the Arroyo Colorado and then eventually the Arroyo Colorado to the Laguna Madre,” said Moore.  

Cities and counties said that they work hand-and-hand because one city’s drainage system can affect the other’s.

“If we design the system to let the water go and Weslaco doesn’t, then we are going to get all their water as well,” said Rodrigo Davila, public works director city of Harlingen. 

Officials said that construction will not interfere with the current drainage systems. They also said that if residents cleared their back yards and stopped dumping it would help avoid flooding.  

“If you have anything that is built up that is blocking your back yard where the water can’t get towards your street, try to take care of that before you have an [rain] event,” said Moore.  

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