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Flooding Concerns Moves Fort Worth To Action

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News
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Vehicles are submerged in flood waters. (credit: Getty Images/Sam Yeh/AFP)

Vehicles are submerged in flood waters. (credit: Getty Images/Sam Yeh/AFP)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – As the spring storm season approaches, the City of Fort Worth is taking two big steps to prevent and alert residents of possible flooding.

The Public Works Department recently started clearing out drainage canals across Fort Worth.

Many of the man-made channels were clogged with overgrown brush and sediment that eroded from the canal’s banks.  Because of the blockage, the canals were no longer offering adequate flood prevention.

“In the past we didn’t have the resources to maintain the channels on a regular basis so overtime they would degrade,” said Don McChesney, a Senior Engineer with Fort Worth Public Works. “We know by restoring the design capacity we will prevent flooding.”

Fort Worth is using money from the Storm Water Utility Fee on residents’ water bills to fund the canal clearing efforts.

Chet Vogel was one of the first residents to benefit from the Storm Water Utility Project, which started in 2006.  His home flooded three times, in 2001, 2004 and again in 2006, before the city fixed the drainage system in his Southwest Fort Worth neighborhood.  “It got about 14 inches above the door, he said, “we had about $75,000 worth of damage in the house.”

“We try to address the most common flooding problems first,” McChesney said.

The city isn’t just trying to protect resident’s property, officials are also protecting lives by installing 38 new high water markers.

“The important thing is we don’t want any citizens to put themselves at risk and go through a flooded area,” McChesney stressed.

“I think the city is being more careful,” said Vogel, “so we don’t have similar problems in the future.”

The city is using federal grant money to buy the additional high water alert signs.

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