Floods in Sun City: An Example of Fooling with Mother Nature

Topics: El Paso, Texas, Flood, Fort Bliss Pages: 2 (711 words) Published: August 24, 2006
Mother Nature
Recent floods in the Sun City are an excellent example of "fooling with Mother Nature." Arroyos are creek beds that are usually dry and covered with plants and trees; they also attract wildlife in search of food and shelter. Arroyos are nature's way of providing natural barriers that can prevent flooding by providing channels for water to drain away from populations. The storm that escalated on August 1, 2006, serves as a warning to local politicians and developers who want to develop the arroyos for profit. These floods could have been prevented (Coronado Neighborhood Association, January, 2005). The city is expanding due to the growth of the Fort Bliss military installation and also because of the flow of Mexico's middle and upper class. Builders are building wherever possible, and the El Paso City Council has allowed it. Critics have warned of this danger for years. "Failure to address these issues could lead to flooding of homes and businesses during a large storm event," John Walton, a hydrologist at the University of Texas at El Paso, wrote in 2004 to top officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Mr. Walton also stated that the manmade drainage system built to manage arroyo waters was too small and threatened the area. This was true in the west side of the city where homes, stone walls, and businesses were swept away. City leaders and developers were urged to tighten building codes and invest more in securing an infrastructure. City representative Beto O'Rourke stated, "We have to reassess the manmade channels built over the last 100 years. We have to look at more responsible growth" (Corchado, A., August, 2006). Mayor John Cook was assured by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that an earthen dam that threatened to burst in Ciudad Juarez and flood downtown El Paso would hold. The engineers also determined that none of the city's drainage systems, dams, or reservoirs failed. City Manager,...
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