Home News Local News Berm repairs delayed due to high water levels

Berm repairs delayed due to high water levels

The flood-control berm west of Roswell still needs to drain water before repairs can begin, says a local flood official. This photo was taken June 1 and supplied by the city of Roswell. (Submitted Photo)

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The head of the Chaves County Flood Commission said repairs to the breached flood-control berm that is flowing water into Roswell cannot occur this week, but he is hoping that work can begin by early next week.

Dick Smith, superintendent of the Flood Commission that manages the berm, or levee, about 1.25 miles west of Roswell, said too much water is still in the berm area to allow for repairs to begin this week as he had hoped.

“I have been there twice,” Smith said. “It is still running — a lot of water. There is about 300 acre feet still, so I am hoping to get out there next week.”

He said he has located the necessary materials and plans to ask county officials for permission to hire help for the “quick patch job” that will occur to stop the water that still is flowing into south Roswell in the aftermath of a “100-year” storm over the Memorial Day weekend that dropped as much as 5.25 inches within 24 hours and caused flooding of some residents’ homes, yards, septic systems and water wells.

People living between South Main Street and South Sunset Avenue near the Roswell Air Center were especially hard hit. The storm also flooded properties in the Orchard Park area near Midway, according to people working with the American Red Cross of New Mexico and the Roswell Community Disaster Relief Services.

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After immediate repairs occur, Smith said, a project is expected to begin immediately or soon after to rebuild the entire berm.

“The whole thing is going to have to be rebuilt,” he said. “The water went over the whole thing for about a mile, and, as it went over the backside, it eroded the backside.”

He said the Flood Commission will rework the berm to ensure that flowing waters are directed into the Hondo River instead of toward South Roswell. Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh has repeatedly asked for that to occur when speaking about the flooding situation.

Smith was part of the county group that met up with city officials, the Roswell-Chaves County Emergency Management coordinator and representatives of the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to tour the berm and the Twin Rivers Dam area on Friday.

The Corps of Engineers manages the Twin Rivers Dam area, built in the early 1960s and located about 14 miles west of Roswell, which consists of the northern Diamond A Dam and the southern Rocky Dam. The Diamond A Dam was gated a few days after the local storms. But Rocky Dam has no gate or barrier, and water did flow from there to the Rocky Arroyo and to the berm area, which contributed to the berm failure along with the heavy rainfalls, Smith said during earlier interviews.

A phone message left for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public affairs staff was not returned by press time.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.