ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE-KBIM) - Officials in southeastern New Mexico are continuing a fight withthe federal government over where flooding is or is not likely tooccur.
They have a problem with a 7-year-old study conducted by FEMAthat they say has exaggerated the flood plain in Roswell, whichcosts a lot of people money.
For years Roswell city engineers have been trying to get FEMA tolook at what they say is the right data for the flood plain inRoswell.
Before a FEMA study that concluded in 2002, the last time aflood study was done around Chaves County was in the 1980's.
Roswell has two rivers running through the middle of town, theRio Hondo which was dry Monday, and the Spring River.
Thousands of people who live in between the two rivers arepaying for flood insurance.
One homeowner said he believes it's costing him more than $1,000a year.
The flood plain also encompasses a majority of businesses in thearea.
The city says, in reality, thousands of homes and dozens ofbusinesses aren't anywhere near potential flood zones.
The FEMA flood maps from September of 2009 essentially doubledthe potential flood zone in between the Hondo and Spring riversfrom the original maps made in the 1980s.
City officials say they have already spent the better part ofseven years trying to show FEMA better data that would shrink theflood zones.
"But we haven't given up,” said David Storey, an engineerwith the city of Roswell. "We could have folded and said we can'tfight FEMA.
"We haven't done that, and that's because of all the people whoare affected."
The city and Chaves County approved the current FEMA flood mapsat the end of September.
They did that, they said, because they had no choice.
If they hadn't, they could have lost federal money and grantsand been dropped from FEMA’s National Flood InsuranceProgram.
The city of Roswell said it's spent about $90,000 trying to getthe correct information and data to FEMA over the past sevenyears.
Much of that money has been spent on an independent firm thathas compiled data and studies for the city.
That firm is now in the process of appealing to FEMA for moreaccurate maps.
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