News6 Investigates


6 Investigates Follows-Up: Farmer fights man-made flooding

Posted at 1:05 PM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 14:12:00-04

Robstown’s effort to divert water from developed to undeveloped areas is causing a big problem for a farmer near Robstown.

Fred Burkhardt tells 6 Investigate he’s losing about 10 percent of his topsoil every year, as water massed in man-made ditches boils into naturally-occurring tributaries on is property, and overflows.

He showed us a branch of the West Oso creek, which dissects a large section of his farmland, pointing to a washed-out area.

“Man-made excess flood water like this…has caused this…to gouge out like this,” Burkhardt says.

It’s not the first time we’ve discussed the problem with Mr. Burkhardt, who in years passed has complained that freshly-dug ditches, upstream are creating walls of water that wash over his lands, downstream.

County officials tell 6 Investigates they’re working on solutions but there are no easy answers to what is a regional problem involving a very vast watershed.

“It’s a regional problem,” says County Commissioner Carolyn Vaughn. “The water’s coming from Jim Wells County, too.”

Vaughn says a push to come up with a countywide-drainage plan is on the county’s legislative agenda in Austin but, “nobody’s touching it.”

Burkhardt tells us the county should reimburse landowners whose property is being damaged by these man-made floods.

“They need to acquire flood easements or flood passage across the properties…and compensate the people for it,” he says.

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