South Texas leaders are looking to fix their three year flooding problem

South Texas farmers have dealt with flooding for three straight years now, which has devastated crops and profits. Local leaders are looking to neutralize the problem.

You may not have ever thought it, but there are politics behind putting drainage ditches near farms. Texas citrus producer Fred Karle says that it is a fight to have them put in and it can take a long time to make it happen.

“In one area, we thought we were going to get some drainage way back in 2010, but instead because of a flood over from the river the drainage money got reappropriated to build levees and rebuild levees over by the river,” Karle states.

These drainage canals serve a very important purpose near citrus orchards and every other ag industry in south Texas.

“We have to have drainage all over. Crops need drainage,” Karle states. “Our citrus can’t stand ‘wet feet.’ In other words, we need a lot of water through the year for citrus, but we can’t stand for it to be sitting there, saturating the soil for a very long period of time. It’ll just kill the trees.”

He says that Willacy County, a county north of where his orchards are, has to have a good drainage system.

“Water flows from the river area and southwest down to the northeast. It’s important for our area to have good drainage and the water has to go somewhere,” he adds. “We can’t just dump it on them... There has to be an outlet for the water and it has to go through Willacy County or out that way to get to the Gulf.”

The Willacy County Commissioner says that there is one problem he encounters with trying to improve drainage. His part of the county does not have a drainage district. He says that he is trying to make things better.

“We’re right not looking out for some grants that are available,” Eliberto Guerra states. “We had a meeting last week and we’re all going to participate in a grant.”

Guerra says that he is waiting to hear whether his district can be approved for grants.


Mexico pays its water debt to the U.S.