HATCH – In one southern New Mexico village, it’s like clockwork — the summer rains come and the floodwaters follow.
Federal officials say storm runoff regularly causes significant damage to residential, commercial and agricultural areas in and around the village of Hatch, a farming community along the Rio Grande that is known for growing New Mexico’s signature crop — green chile.
Millions of dollars in damage have been recorded over the years and residents can’t help but remember the times when village streets were covered with as much as 3 feet (1 meter) of water.
Years of study and planning have resulted in a $12.7 million project that officials say will protect Hatch from the seasonal deluges. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Dona Ana County Flood Commission will sign an agreement next week to move ahead with design and construction of an earthen dam in lower Spring Canyon.