Takings: City's Drainage System Flood Could Be A Taking

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 12:00 am
Land Use Law Report, Volume 41, Number 1

El Paso's decision to rely on an overwhelmed drainage system that destroyed property during a storm could be a taking.

Facts: In the 1950s, when developers built the Coronado Country Club on the west side of The City of El Paso, Texas, they filled the large natural arroyos (i.e., creeks) near the country club and built a diversion dam to reroute water from the old large arroyos to a smaller arroyo (Arroyo 8B). Over the next 50 years, as developers created new residential neighborhoods in the area, they rerouted water from the large natural arroyos to the diversion dam and Arroyo 8B.

In 2004, a civil engineering professor, Dr. John Walton, who lived in the area reviewed the drainage systems, including the system routing water into Arroyo 8B. He concluded that the drainage system leading to Arroyo 8B was under-designed and would probably fail in a large storm. He notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about his concerns by letter, and he hand-delivered a copy of the letter to El Paso's City Engineer.

In the letter, Dr. Walton stated that even if Arroyo 8B were reinforced so th[..]


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