Facing the Fury: Valley drainage system challenged by severe weather

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When it rains in the Rio Grande Valley, it often pours.

Unfortunately for the region, the flood plain is especially flat, meaning water tends to sit.

The region’s drainage systems help to keep it from affecting us.

The challenge for the drainage district is moving all that water out to the Gulf of Mexico.

In Hidalgo County, the network of drainage systems spans more than 600 miles. Hidalgo County Drainage District #1 District Manager Raul Sesin says the web of drains were built after Hurricane Beulah.

That historic event devastated the Valley, killing dozens and leaving thousands homeless.

According to Sesin, the Valley was more agricultural back then.

Since then, Valley cities have grown, adding homes, and infrastructure — meaning floodwaters rush faster with less soil to dampen its movement.

Those are the challenges to flood control in a region where elevation changes little, and gravity isn't much help moving the floodwaters away.


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