EL PASO, Texas -- - The Mesa Hills Detention Basin Project restores a basin on El Paso's west side that already existed. The goal of the project is to prevent flooding such as the floods seen during Storm 2006.
Alan Shubert, the Vice President of Operations and Technical Services, said the basin being restored had become completely clogged, or silted. The restored basin will capture the flow of water and release it at a controlled rate. Shubert says the concept behind the project is relatively simple and that the project cost around $880,000.
"There's not too much technology involved other than trying to figure out how big the events are, so we can figure out how large to make the structures," said Shubert. "Generally speaking, flood control is done just like it was done during the Roman times. It's just a matter of how much you can build and how much storage you can build, how much water you can convey safely, and how you can keep people away and out of it."
The water utility estimated that Storm 2006 caused more than $200 million in damage to homes and businesses and more than $100 million in damage to the city's storm water system.
"What we learned in 2006, number one, is that El Paso's subject to much larger rain events than people ever expected," Shubert said. "The other thing that we learned is that you've got to build and maintain infrastructure if you're gonna keep the city from flooding."
El Paso Water is working on another and larger project near Silver Springs Drive, which is off of West Wind. That will create a new basin to trap storm water. The project costs $1.6 million.