EL PASO, Texas – The weekend is off to a bad start for several people who live in a south El Paso neighborhood.
Someone allegedly opened a canal gate, sending water gushing into their homes. Residents want someone to pay for the damage.
“I was so angry!” Guadalupe Solis says she came home after dinner to find her backyard and porch under water, her storage room flooded and more water seeping under her home.
Solis explains, “I went under surgery and then to come home and see this, that’s terrible. I feel terrible, and to be up until 3 or 4 in the morning trying to clean this mess.”
About 5 other homes also had flooding. Solis blames the neighborhood irrigation manager, or alcalde.
She says he never tells residents when to irrigate. Chico Dominguez, who just started as this neighborhood’s alcalde, says that’s not true.
“They’ve got to learn to take care of their water. That’s what they get the water for,” says Dominguez. “I call them on the phone. I do a lot of calling,” he continues.
County water officials explain they have employees who open up the main flood gates during certain times of the week. In this case Thursday evening to Sunday morning.
“The alcalde requested the water as is scheduled. Our ditch rider opened the turnout at our canal and released the water to them. Then it’s their responsibility to maintain and take care of the water and irrigate as their turn comes up,” says Jesus Reyes, general manager for the El Paso County Water Improvement District.
“He opened it, he closed it. That way we never can get to water the way we’re supposed to because we don’t know when he opened it and when he closed it,” says Solis.
Solis claims Dominguez opens and closes irrigation covers without telling anyone. Again, he says it’s not true.
“It’s not my responsibility to open the covers and close them. That’s the land owner’s responsibility,” says Dominguez. He claims vandals are taking the covers.
Dominguez says he plans to try a more convenient irrigation schedule for homeowners.
He says, “There’s a lot of responsibility on the land owner. All of us have our responsibilities, and I’m real busy trying to get them to water.”
Solis says the flooding cost about $10,000 to $15,000 in damage.