Woman Claims Home, Business Affected by Constant Flooding

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SAN BENITO- A San Benito woman said her home and business are being negatively affected by flooding from her neighbors’ irrigation water.

Linda Casarez is a mother of three and a business owner. She and her husband work hard to maintain their San Benito business Vidalez Autoplex.

She said they've owned the auto lot for almost 15 years. They even built their home next door.  But for years they've had problem.

"They don't take care of the water. They leave it running and it causes issues at my business and home. The asphalt sinks and we've fixed it three times already. But now we've already repaired it with concrete. The cost for the driveway was $8,000," Casarez said.

She explained the water comes from her neighbor’s farm. When the flooding is bad, it also keeps potential customers away. Casarez said that's something they can't afford.

She said her yard is becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"I'm afraid of the mosquitoes with that sickness that spreading right now, Zika. It's a real issue, you can see that the water is really dirty and it smells bad, like fish," Casarez said.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to Chris Bower, the farmer who leases the field next to Casarez’s property. He's been farming since the ‘70s.

The water runs from his cotton field. He said flood irrigation is a must for his cotton crops.

"Flood irrigation, it has to fill up and then we change rows. We have to drain that water out after it fills up. If there is no drain, then the water sits there for three or four days the crop dies," Bower said.

Bower told us he understands Casarez's frustration. He knows the flooding has been a problem for years. He's even hired a worker to focus on the irrigation to limit the amount of water used.

But Bower said they discovered the problem isn't the irrigation technique.

"And then I have him check those pipes, because of them are collapsed and some of them have grass in front of them and trash in front of them and the water won’t drain out. So it's a problem, and it's TxDOT's drainage," Bower explained.

The Texas Department of Transportation maintains the road side ditches. We reached out to them to see what can be done to fix this problem. They sent the following statement, which reads in part:

"Areas where ditches are used for retention are checked to ensure that the culverts-which help to stabilize the amount of water in the ditches-are clear of debris, grass and other materials.  TxDOT makes all efforts to ensure that the ditches are trash free and, if need be, the ditches are regraded."

Casarez and her husband said they want to see their tax dollars go to fixing this problem.

Bower said he is done irrigating his cotton field for the year, but the irrigation will begin again early next year.

Count on CHANNEL 5 NEWS to continue tracking what, if any, changes are made by TxDOT.


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