DeSoto aims to tackle drainage issues

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LEWISBURG, Miss. -- In the last several years, Melanie Allison figures she’s lost several feet of property due to the erosion of the ditch along Byhalia Road.

”The culverts stopped up because of the current and heavy water flow. The water goes out onto the road.”

She says during the recent rainy spell, the ditch, which is about eight to ten feet deep, overflowed, creating a potentially deadly situation on the road.

”I think it’s a hazard. It needs to be fixed.”

She took her case to DeSoto Supervisors this week, who say they already know they have a problem, and that it’s countywide.

”Drainage is definitely a priority. Our road department works very hard on that,” said Supervisor Mark Gardner.

Gardner thinks keeping canals clear of debris and brush makes for a natural first step.

County leaders think a huge vacuum truck Olive Branch is selling could help solve a lot of their problems. Olive Branch wants $70,000 for it. The county only wants to pay $50,000.

The truck would lessen the need for people to climb in these ditches to keep them clear.

But supervisors also want to develop a long-term plan.

”I’d like to work with local engineering firms, Mississippi's Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to identify our biggest problem areas,” Gardner explained.

He says a coordinated effort could make drainage more uniform across DeSoto County, and keep Melanie Allison higher and drier.

”They’ve listened to me. This is something I’ve been working on since 2009. At what point am I hoping for some help? Soon!”

Because she says more rainstorms like we had lately will gobble even more of her land.

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