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You are here: Home / Publications / Periodicals / Natural Outlook / Natural Outlook, 2011 / 2010 Border Flooding

2010 Border Flooding

The TCEQ plays an essential role in international flood response. (Natural Outlook, Winter/Spring 2011)

The Laredo area experienced record flooding in 2010.
The Laredo area experienced record flooding in 2010.
TCEQ photo by Moe Yarrito, Rio Grande watermaster

As torrential rains from Hurricane Alex and a tropical depression fell in South Texas and northern Mexico from late June through early July 2010, record flooding occurred along the Rio Grande. As the waters started to rise, the TCEQ responded quickly, performing essential duties to help control flooding and minimize damage to communities along the border.

As the liaison between the U.S. Inter­national Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the TCEQ played an instrumental role in coordinating efforts to control the flooding.

Images of Falcon Dam Spillway and the Eagle Pass International Bridge.
Left: Falcon Dam Spillway. Right: Eagle Pass International Bridge.
TCEQ photos by Moe Yarrito, Rio Grande watermaster

TCEQ staff acted as the "eyes and ears" of the IBWC by patrolling floodgate levees saturated by the floodwater and notifying it of any cracks or other problems discovered along 160 miles of the Rio Grande from Falcon Dam downstream to Brownsville, and 270 miles of floodway levees in Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties. This allowed the IBWC to concentrate its efforts on any issues identified by the TCEQ. In addition, specialized teams of TCEQ employees conducted 75 water and wastewater inspections; three landfill inspections; and inspections of 2,799 lateral gate, levee, temporary pump, and other irrigation and flood-control features in the affected counties.

An unprecedented information flow from Mexican officials to Texas emergency management officials through the TCEQ and the IBWC, and the close coordination among all these response partners, will serve as a model for future disaster management efforts across border jurisdictions.

Images of flooding in Starr County and Laredo.
Left: Laredo. Right: Starr County.
TCEQ photos by Moe Yarrito, Rio Grande watermaster

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