Local Farmer Seeking Solution to Repair Irrigation Line

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LOS FRESNOS – A local farmer says he has an $80,000 problem to fix if he ever wants to water his field again.

Wayne Schmidt of Los Fresnos says he co-owns the land on both sides of a railroad. He says a pipe running under the railroad carried irrigation water from east to west before it collapsed.

"You can't push water uphill," he said.

He described the collapsed pipe as completely flooded with rock.

It's a unique kind of problem, he said, the variables at work include proximity to a Union Pacific Railroad line.

"The railroad company told me that I was going to need to come up with an $80,000 bond," said Schmidt.

Schmidt said since losing the pipe, he already lost one crop.

"Last year, we had sorghum and it burned up in the field," he said.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to Union Pacific about what can be done about this. The railroad says they're researching the issue.

We also contacted Cameron County Irrigation District Number 6. Tito Nieto, general manager, said their responsibility ends at the publicly-owned pipes and channels.

He says this pipe wasn't installed by the irrigation district.

We contacted Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to ask if there's any support out there. The spokesperson for the group, Brad Cowan, says Schmidt may be eligible for programs offered by the USDA or the Texas Water Development Board but he'll have to apply.

"All we have is to wait on nature and God to give us the water and the rain," said Schmidt.

He hopes the rains come until he finds a solution.


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