River Levels in Brownsville Rising

Friday, July 9, 2010 - 3:20pm

The International Boundary and Water Commission began releasing water from Falcon Dam yesterday afternoon and the levels of the Rio Grande are starting to rise, but there's no need to worry of water overflowing the levees, News Center 23 reporter Julio Olivo has more.


Water began flowing downstream on the Rio Grande river, after the International Boundary and Water Commission began releasing water from Falcon Dam on Wednesday causing the river to rise.

"we have to dams, the Retamal Dam is the one that controls the amount of water that goes into Brownsville, so we are controlling the water in the Rio Grande that goes towards Brownsville and is set at a fixed amount, at 200 cubic meters per second, that's pretty close to a 30 percent capacity of the levees down towards Brownsville." says  Rodolfo Montero, Area Operations Manager with the International Boundary and Water Commission out of Mercedes.

But with more water coming from the Eagle Pass and Laredo areas the levels could rise more.

" we are expecting more water to be coming down, maybe the percentage will go up a little higher, but we can still manage it, right now our levees will be operating at about 12 to 15 percent and depending on the water that keeps coming down, it will probably go up a little more, depends on the conditions of the river upstream."

In Brownsville, the Rio Grande river will be limited to 200 cubic meters per second, the capacity flow level of the levees in Brownsville is 570 cubic meters per second, well below the levees capacity flow of 570 cubic meters, so how much water is being released into the river from Retamal Dam?

"at this particular moment, it's about 800 cubic feet per second, but it's likely to go up, because we still haven't received the water that's coming down from falcon, and then it'll probably crest."

The IBWC has structures in the levees for water control, but Montero has some concerns about these structures, since people that live nearby sometimes open the structures themselves.

"we have over 600 structures in the levees and those structures what they do, some of them they drain water in to the floodway, and our concern is that there will be people that if the floodway is filled up with water, they may not drain in to the floodways and the water is going to be held, and what we did is that we closed all the structures or most of them right now, we are only allowing the structures that are flowing in to the levees, so far, in to the system, floodway system to get water in."

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