Call 4 Action - Edinburg man says canal water is seeping onto his property

Gene Hernandez has been fighting a losing battle with a canal water seeping onto his Edinburg property.

"Look at that from underneath the house... mud," Gene said.

The problem with the canal behind his home has been going on for about a year, according to Gene.

"Look at the cement how it's starting to fall apart here," he said.

The water has been reportedly damaging his property little by little.

"We've got water problems all over the yard," Gene said.

Gene fears the water may have caused structural damage to his home and more.

"The foundation, mold problems in the future," he said. "Cracks in the inside... No telling what."

About a dozen other property owners are facing a similar dilemma along the 300 block of North 29th Street.

The canal is admittedly in disrepair with a cracked lining and eroded dirt, according to Estella Mata who's an office manager with Hidalgo County Irrigation District #1.

Estella says the decades old canal that furnishes water to areas east of Edinburg needs a 2 million dollar overhaul.

Its money the county does not have, according to Estella.

But county leaders have a possible solution to stop the seepage.

It's centered on a makeshift drainage system.

County leaders want to dig a trench beneath the canal to install a drainage system that would run the water away from property owners.

About a dozen people would need to sign off on the plan.

Work contracts have been mailed out by the irrigation district.

Estella says county workers need to move fencing illegally built on the county's easement for the work to be completed.

She says the county will foot the bill for the work but she needs everyone TMs signature before the work can get started.

Gene's fine with signing the contract, but he fears it may limit his ability to recoup any possible monetary awards for damages associated with the ongoing canal seepage.

"It sounds like we're the losers... And I don't think that's fair. That's a problem they should have to deal with," Gene said.

Estella assures Action 4 News that the contract only deals with the work associated with the drain at the bottom of the canal.

Anyone who has proof of damages should bring it to the irrigation district office.

Estella says it will be submitted to the county's insurance company for review.

The work contracts were mailed out last Friday.

So far nobody has returned them signed.

Property with abandoned homes or property owners who don't respond to the work contract request could be forced into allowing the county onto the property to get the work done, according to Estella.

She said any claims for damages due to the water seepage over the last year will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.