Fighting back against flooding in Hidalgo County

For months Hidalgo County workers have worked vigorously to fix the drainage problems that have plagued the county for years.

Unclogging drains, cleaning up debris, and clearing out overgrown grass and trees are all part of the million dollar plan.

"We pull out refrigerators, televisions, sofa's, dead animals....all kind of things come out of there," Hidalgo County Emergency Manager, Oscar Montoya said.

But it does not stop there.

The International Boundary and Water Commission is also forking over some big bucks to improve its levees.

"Our commission received $220-million dollars in appropriations to raise and rehabilitate our flood control levees in Texas and New Mexico, Sally Spener said. We have made significant improvements in the flood control system."

Spener is with the IBWC.

She said those levees were put to the test-- this time last year when flood waters from the Rio Grande rolled into the Valley.

"We were able to contain the river flooding as well as divert water, as intended, into our relief valve--- which is the interior flood way system--and they worked," Spener said.

She said the homes that flooded during that time did not do so because the levees failed---they were taken over by water because of the ongoing drainage problems in the Valley.

That claim is one Montoya does not dispute.

"Once they start releasing water and the levees build up to a certain level we have to start relying on our own drainage system---because we have to shut our gates....and that's where you get issues."

Montoya said, while the county is doing its part, residents also need to help--- by not dumping trash into drainage canals.