HARLINGEN, Texas – Developing a two-dimensional hydraulic/hydrologic model of its area has really helped Cameron County Drainage District No. 5.

That is the review of its general manager, Alan Moore. In the third of a three-part podcast series, Moore explains how much better things are now that new digital modeling is available. 

“In the older days, the 80s, early 90s, engineers just made assumptions. We will dig a ditch from point a to point b. Yes, I calculate it generates this much water, you carry that and you are done,” Moore said.

“Well, the funding agencies do not like to rely on an engineer’s assumption. So, they want to see the modeling. They want to see the benefit-cost analysis. They want to see how many homes have benefited from having this project. It is like a huge amount of data that one engineer with pencil and paper can’t just calculate.”

CCDD5 received a flood protection planning grant from the Texas Water Development Board. With the funds the group hired a firm to develop a two-dimensional hydraulic/hydrologic model of the district. 

“It basically shows how the channel operates and once the channel fills up, where it breaks out first. It assumes that all the water can get to us. So, if your bar ditch is clogged up or the city streets don’t have the capacity to convey the water, you could still have flooding in your neighborhood but we know it is not because of our ditch,” Moore said.

“But, we can look and analyze how our ditch functions, where the water comes in, how fast it comes in and how fast we can convey it out.”

Moore said the modeling calculates whether any homes are adversely affected by any actions taken by the drainage district. 

“The whole system has to stay in balance. We may be able to drain one neighborhood faster, but if it is going to cause damage to another neighborhood, then you can’t fix the first one until you find the solution for the second one. And everything has to be done sequentially and in a planned effort so that no one is being damaged by the improvement,” Moore said. 


Editor’s Note: The above news story is the third in a four-part series on Cameron County Drainage District No. 4. Click here to read Part One. Click here to listen to Part Two. Click here to listen to Part Three.

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