Rio Rancho residents frustrated as water creeps up driveways

Brittany Costello
September 29, 2017 10:12 PM

RIO RANCHO, N.M. -- Rio Rancho, like many parts of the state, got hit hard by downpours on Friday. Rainwater swallowed up portions of roads in some spots, even threatening homes in the process.


Residents in the area say while flooding is common in some parts of the city, it's rarely, if ever, as bad as it was on Friday. Mailboxes stood in ankle-deep water, and with another round of storms expected, people who live here are worried the water could reach their homes.

Meanwhile, they claim the city is doing nothing to help, even as the water makes the homes look like lakefront properties.

"If we get a lot of rain it just floods. It stays and then you see the road coming in; it gets potholes. It destroys your vehicle," John Rickard said. "So there's nothing being done about it except for they cut the road whenever they can."

For Rickard and other residents along Second Street, this is nothing new. But he and his neighbors say this round of flooding was worse than usual, even leading to possible safety hazards.

"It blocks access for people to get into their houses," Jennifer Orellana said. "It's unsafe because you can see some of the electrical outlets and telephone wiring."

The water in this neighborhood is so deep the only thing stopping it from reaching some of the homes are makeshift dams, some of them made from rocks. It was so bad one resident even paid hundreds of dollars to get a thousand gallons pumped from the street.

It helped, but only a little.

"It should be the city that provides protection against this happening and flooding our homes, and they're not doing it," Randy Wysocki said.

So does the city have a plan?

A spokesperson for Rio Rancho said the city has 100 miles of unimproved areas like this neighborhood. The city says there simply isn't enough money to create curbs or drainage in all those areas. Instead, they grade the roads to try and level them out periodically.

Millions of dollars are already being spent each year on that upkeep.

City officials say when residents move into areas like this, they should have some sort of idea what they're getting into, no matter how many hundreds of days a year Rio Rancho is graced with sunshine and clear skies.

For now, though, the city says residents can call Public Works to have a representative come out and assess their individual situations, then create a plan from there.


Brittany Costello

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