The San Antonio River Authority denied claims by South Side residents that recent construction along the Mission Reach portion of the San Antonio River was to blame for flooding that severely damaged their homes.
Dozens of people living in about 30 houses along Espada Road had to be evacuated Saturday after the river overflowed its banks between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Most of the houses took on heavy water and several will likely be a total loss.
"I've lived here my entire life, through the floods of 1998 and 2002, and I've never seen any flooding this bad," said Paul Garza, whose home was all but destroyed.
Garza said the recent construction that widened portions of the river just upstream from his home is to blame for the damage.
"All that water collects there now, and once the river gets smaller downstream near our neighborhood, it bottlenecks and forced all that water up and out," Garza said.
But San Antonio River Authority General Manager Suzanne Scott disagreed with Garza's claim. Scott said just because the floods of '98 and '02 produced more rainfall overall in the city does not mean that river levels weren't at record highs near the neighborhood.
"Flood gauges at that portion of the river, including inside the Mission Reach construction area, were at the highest they've ever been," Scott said.
The fact that Garza saw flooding he had never seen before makes sense, Scott said, because river levels there have never been higher.
Garza and others on Espada Road remain unconvinced that construction had nothing to do with the flooding, but said those questions will remain for another day.
In the meantime, they have a lengthy cleanup process in front of them.