AUSTIN (KXAN) - Joe Cohen spent Tuesday afternoon inspecting the progress on his home after he and his family were forced to move out two weeks ago after eight inches of water flooded the downstairs of their home.
"We had to rip out all of the floors," said Cohen. "We had to tear up the walls across the entire house."
Cohen said water came rushing in to his home on July 15 after two days and close to 10 inches of rain.
"At first I thought it was just coming through the door here- but within about 3 minutes- all the walls in all the rooms had water just pouring in," said Cohen. "The first thought in my head was get the kids out of here- get us out of here- there's nothing we can do."
Cohen returned the following day to discover muddy water in his backyard pool and debris blocking the drainage ditch behind his home.
"The city told us that if the debris didn't clog the drain- the drain would have worked," said Cohen.
But the city of Austin also said there was another problem which caused the flooding at the Cohen's home. Metal bars covering the drainage ditch were not removed when the city of Austin annexed the Hunters Chase Neighborhood from Williamson County two years ago.
"That's an annexed area- just something that recently came in to our jurisdiction and we didn't have any prior knowledge about those bars," said Roxanne Jackson, with the city of Austin Watershed Department.
Jackson said the city inspects hundreds of drainage systems each year and the goal is to have each one done every two years. But the ditch behind the Cohen home had never been inspected.
"We're paying our taxes to the city of Austin and these drainage ditches are here to serve a certain purpose and if they're not serving that purpose then what are we paying for," asked Cohen.
The city has since removed the metal bars and cleared the debris. They recommend calling 311 to report problems with any city drainage system to be sure a problem is fixed right away.
The Cohen family will return to their home this week, but the entire $20,000 in repairs will come out of their pockets since they did not have flood insurance.
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