Neighbors worry clogged creek could lead to flooding

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Residents whose homes back up to Harris Branch Creek worry the creek bed packed with debris and brush could get clogged up during the next major storm and flood their homes.

The creek spilled out of its banks and flooded homes last October in the Crystal Bend area near Pflugerville. Debris and brush are still scattered down the creek.

“It rained inside [my house] about three to three and half feet inside there,” said Ed Driska. The 78-year-old is worried because he says the creek behind his home is so clogged and nothing’s being done to fix it.

“I can’t do anything with it,” he said, “I’m too old to do anything.”

His neighbor Dora Reyes across the street is concerned too.

“If it rains again, it’s going to get bad again.” she said.

The flood in October even reached her house.

“It messed up this area under my house, and my pipes under there, so we had to get all that replaced,” she added.

The neighbors are wondering who can help them and clean up the creek. County leaders have told them it’s usually up to the homeowners.

“I thought my land just goes to the creek and stops,” said Driska. “I don’t know for sure which way it works. I don’t know.”

Driska says his nieces and nephews helped him clean and fix up his house after the Halloween flood. He says it hurts to think about going through that again.

“I don’t want it done again. I want to live here,” he said. “Even if [this house] falls down, I’d put a trailer [in the front yard.] This is my land.  I bought it. It’s all I’ve got.”

Officials with Travis County told KXAN that creeks like Harris Branch Creek are not in their realm of responsibility. In some cases, they say, creeks are the responsibility of the property owner in each section of the creek.

In the City of Austin, property owners are often responsible for cleaning up creeks. For example, if a creek runs up to a homeowner’s property, the homeowner’s property line normally extends to the middle of the creek. So it is up to the homeowner to clean any debris in that area. However, if there is a big problem, crews will come out to check on the issue.

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