Home owners on Verde Circle in the Lower Valley woke up to a nightmare after the canal behind the homes overflowed.
Gustavo Garcia says he woke up at around 4 a.m. and stepped into about a foot of water. “I should be able to sleep in my house and sleep. not wake up and step in water. it just kinds of hurts me, you know,” said Garcia as he shook his head.
He says the water broke down the rock wall in his backyard and destroyed the home’s back door, but this is not the first time this happens. “I already knew what happened because it happened four years ago. same thing that happened happened again and i just woke my parents up told them it happened and now we got to get out of the house,” said Garcia.
Garcia says clothes, electronic devices, and furniture were ruined. “My clothes and my shoes. I have nothing. My belongings, my girlfriends belongs, my family, my baby, my niece and my nephew, everybody’s belongings are done. Whatever was on the floor is done,” says Garcia.
Garcia’s family says their house still does not have power. They say they are currently staying at a hotel.
Jesus Reyes, General Manager for El Paso County Water Improvement for District 1 says the canal was clogged and the water overflowed into the neighborhood. “It’s something that occurs with urbanization and our canal system, the way the irrigation system was built many years ago”
He says the next step is to work to get these homes cleaned up and then possibly look into setting up alarms at the canal. “We are also going to talk to the City of El Paso. That culvert is a little small, we’ve been having problems with it, so we are going to talk to them about maybe replacing it or maybe upgrading it,” says Reyes.
One of the home owners said that when he went to sleep yesterday, his front yard was gravel, but when he woke up Tuesday morning, he found inches and inches of mud.
As for financial assistance, a spokesperson for El Paso County Water Improvement says they will report the damages to their insurance, who will then report to each individual owner. However, residents are still concerned. “if it’s not taken care of right, then what am I left to do?” says Garcia. “The insurance is not going to cover this because its not a natural flood. This is something that happened because they weren’t paying attention.”
El Paso County Water Improvement says they, as well as the Red Cross, are doing everything they can to assist these families.
One of the families affected has set up a GoFundMe page, which can be found here.