2018-06-13 / Front Page

Willacy officials hear report on drainage funding plans

BY ALLEN ESSEX
Reporter

Willacy County officials approved action Thursday to seek funding from the Texas Water Development Board for future projects to deal with flooding from hurricanes and tropical storms.

Counties that were affected by 2015 flooding are eligible to apply for projects costing from $100,000 to $200,000 through the Flood Protection Grant Fund but are required to do so by July 11.

A presentation by Prof. Andrew Ernest of University of Texas Rio Grande Valley was heard about efforts to seek $7.2 million from the RESTORE Act for an initial clean-out of the Raymondville Main Drain, beginning near Port Mansfield and then working westward.

The much larger project to enlarge and widen the Raymondville Main Drain, which belongs to the Delta Lake Drainage District, will eventually extend 62.5 miles in Hidalgo and Willacy County and drain both counties of storm water. That project is expected to cost $420 million, Ernest said.

A workshop session that was held between Willacy and Hidalgo County officials included a discussion about the project will take place in advance of the larger project that will widen and deepen the Raymondville Main Drain to solve major drainage problems in both counties.

Willacy County Judge Au- relio “Keter” Guerra said on Monday the RESTORE Act uses federal funds administered by the state. It will pay for a cleanout of the Raymondville Main Drain and take about a year to 1 1/2 years to complete. Like all ditches, the Raymondville Main Drain has an accumulation of brush, trees, trash, old tires and discarded junk that restricts the flow of water from Hidalgo County to the Laguna Madre near Port Mansfield, he said.

Willacy officials also discussed making a formal request to the Willacy County drainage districts to have a hydrology report on drainage problems in the San Perlita area.

Willacy County Drainage District No. 1 has been doing major ditch cleaning in its ditches and those belonging to Drainage District No. 2 in the San Perlita area.

Also, commissioners authorized Fulcrum Consulting Co. to coordinate a pre-application meeting with the Texas Water Development Board to explore the seeking of funds for drainage problems throughout the county.

In another matter, issuance of documents to request Community Development funding from the Texas Department of Agriculture was approved.

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