A new $34.5 million flood control project will protect the people and property in and around Socorro, Texas.
The Texas Water Development Board approved funding for the design and construction of a flood water detention basin at the lower end of Sparks Arroyo, just northeast of Socorro.
“The area has flooded frequently, and people downstream have had to be rescued when heavy rains send water and sediment through the area. The project will protect lives and property,” said State Representative Mary González. “People at the state and county level have worked cooperatively to get the project funded, and residents will be much safer when its completed.”
The project will involve excavating 300 acre-feet of ground to hold flood water and sediment, and building a 40-feet tall embankment. The excavated area and the embankment will hold flood waters and release them slowly to control flooding further downstream. Currently, 578 houses, 52 commercial building, 28 bridges, and over 800 acres of agricultural land are threatened by flooding
in the area.
“While saving lives and property are most important, the financing is going to save our local taxpayers more than $20 million,” said Rep. Gonzalez. “First, the state is giving El Paso County a $13.8 million dollar grant. Second, the remaining loan for $20.7 million is at no interest, so that will save taxpayers another $9.2 million in interest over the life of the loan.”
Gonzalez says the state is able to fund the project because in 2019 she and other legislators voted to take $3.26 billion from the Rainy Day Fund, and devote it to paying for flood control projects. When she voted, Gonzalez had this project specifically in mind.
“We have been looking for a solution to the flooding problem for almost a decade. Until now, the problem has been that cost was simply too great for the county,” Rep. Gonzalez said. “When we saw the opportunity to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay for these projects, we jumped at it. Soon, the people of southeast El Paso County will see the benefits, too.”
Officials hope to close on the financing in May, and hope to have the design work completed by August of 2023. Construction should begin in December of 2023, and take about a year to complete.