UTRGV engineering students take on San Benito flood issue

SAN BENITO — What areas in town flood the most?

What would San Benito do in the event of catastrophic flooding?

Would the town survive?

Engineer Juan Garcia wants to know because he would like to put a plan in motion.

He and his colleagues at CASA Engineering have partnered with The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the City of San Benito to embark on a drainage project.

The project, which is free of charge to the city, will utilize the help of UTRGV engineering seniors who are currently working on their senior design project which should be completed by May.

In order for them to make the grade, they will have to come up with a tangible way to fix the drainage issue in San Benito.

It will also serve as a plan for future flooding in the event of catastrophic weather.

Garcia talked about the project in depth during the San Benito Chamber of Commerce’s regularly scheduled “Coffee With” session yesterday morning.

As a native of San Benito, Garcia knows all too well the drainage problems that plague the area.

“We all know there are some flooding issues,” he said. “This is my way of giving back.”

The team will start off by assessing the existing storm water infrastructure.

They will also collect data, prepare reports and review existing plans.

The team will also go out into the community and talk to residents in an effort to gain local perspective on the issue.

“We want to know what’s going on and why are we flooding,” Garcia said.

The students will be charged with these tasks, applying what they have learned in class to the field.

The project will be limited to certain areas due to the amount of time allotted for the project.

Based on a preliminary look, Garcia said they have scoped out the area where the proposed South Park will be.

“We’ve already seen some problems in that area,” Garcia said.

During the meeting, community members did not shy away from telling Garcia what areas cause the most trouble.

Areas of concern vary in town.

The Miller Jordan area, some parts of Sam Houston, the north Dick Dowling area and areas where new development is taking place are areas of concern regarding flooding.

Garcia assumes there are more and will depend on the community to let him know during the team’s assessment.