At the Cameron County Drainage District #5 (CCDD5), we think it is important to keep you fully apprised on what we are doing, from the regular maintenance of the drainage system we’re directly responsible for, to the improvements and projects we are currently working on.

In that vein, we will be regularly sending e-newsletters to you and to members of your community. We will be working hard to foster and engender partnerships with your city on projects and initiatives and to work collaboratively with you.

Our community outreach efforts also include creating partnerships with citizens in your community, neighborhood associations and HOAs as well as with community organizations and service clubs. We will be posting this e-newsletter on our website, and we will be sending it to those that provide us with their email addresses. Additionally, we will be working hard to initiate and participate in town hall and neighborhood meetings.

Additionally, we will be working on the following:

* Creating a logo for CCDD5 (completed)

* Joining the Greater Harlingen Chamber as a bronze sponsor and becoming an active member

* Initiating the creation of a quad-city leadership group, composed of the cities of Harlingen, Combes, Primera, and Palm Valley (within the drainage district), to work collaboratively with CCDD5 on drainage initiatives, hopefully morphing us to collectively prepare a legislative agenda in preparation for the 88th Legislative Session that starts on January 10, 2023

* Setting up a CCDD5 Facebook page to keep social media viewers regularly updated on what we are working on

* Setting up a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) link on our CCDD5 website


We are particularly mindful that some of you understandably may know very little about CCDD5. With this inaugural e-newsletter, we would like to provide you a brief overview of what we are about to hopefully help you better understand what we do and what our purpose is.

1. Was established in 1993 as a direct result of the flooding caused by the torrential rainfall of Tropical Depression Two.

2. The Board includes three (3) directors, and a staff of three (3) employees.

3. Has a service area of approximately 40 square miles within Cameron County that includes portions of Harlingen, and the Towns of Combes, Palm Valley, and Primera.

4. Has a tax rate of $0.13 (it was previously $0.15 but was lowered due to the increase in ad valorem revenues).

5. It generates $2.8 million every year in ad valorem revenues that are used to support the operation and maintenance of the drainage district, to provide matching for grants it receives, and to pay for the Flooding Infrastructure Funds (FIF) loans it receives. The amount of ad valorem revenues that CCDD5 received, when it was first created, was approximately $738,364 with two-thirds of these revenues being used for bond and interest payments. No different than a city, with increased valuations, CCDD5 also benefits with ad valorem revenue increases.

6. Is responsible for construction, improvements, and maintenance of approximately 70 miles of open drains that transport or convey the storm runoff from floods or heavy rains to the arroyo.

7. It contracts with the Harlingen Irrigation District No. 1 and with the La Feria Irrigation District #3 for the maintenance of its open drain system; for the excavation of detention ponds; and for the installation of check values on some of our open drains.

8. The purpose of CCDD5, like all other drainage districts, is to mitigate flooding. Flood mitigation, includes but not limited, to reducing flood elevations; to reducing flood damages to residential and commercial properties; to reducing the extent and frequency of flooding; and, to lessening the severity of flooding. It does so by the following:

a. Regular maintenance of its open drains and detention ponds

b. Build/regrade/upgrade its open drains and detention ponds

Next newsletter

In the subsequent e-newsletter (we are already working on), we will be sharing with you the following:

1. The H&H Study that we use to model the drainage improvements we are currently working on. We want to describe to you how this 2-D modeling assists us in better understanding the impact the improvements, when completed, will have to mitigate flooding. We used the 2008 and 2019 floods to calibrate the modeling of the drainage improvements we are currently working on.

2. $17.7 million in improvements that we are currently working on that includes Flood Infrastructure Funds (FIF) grants and loans as well as the local match that CCDD5 has committed.

3. A list of improvements that CCDD5 has made with its own funds. We wish to highlight the improvements that we have made.

4. We are currently finalizing a $1.9 million grant application to submit to the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) for drainage improvements on Business 77 and Industrial Boulevard that CCDD5, if funded, will match with $600,000. These drainage improvements involve boring five 7ft steel pipes underneath Business 77 and the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) tracks to further expand the open drain adjacent to Secluded Acres to our North Main Drain.

5. A list of projects and improvements that we have compiled that we are presently seeking grant funding for.

In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions or if you need additional information.

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was penned by Rolando Vela, assistant general manager of Cameron County Drainage District No. 5. The commentary first appeared in a newsletter produced by CCDD5 that was sent to elected and appointed officials and key stakeholders within the CCDD5 service area. It appears in The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with the permission of the author. Vela can be reached by email via: [email protected]

Editor’s Note: The above commentary is the first in a series of features on the work of Cameron County Drainage District No.5.

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