CHULA VISTA, Calif. — In the South Bay, flooding left a ranch underwater, and that meant evacuating animals out of the Tijuana River Valley.
It’s a scene that led to one woman getting trapped in her SUV, and others rescuing horses. Since then, not much of it has dried.
From dawn till dusk, ranchers along the Tijuana River Valley saddled up, rescuing cars, people and horses from flooding.
Armando Rioz was just one out of many who found themselves waist-deep in water joined by Good Samaritans and Border Patrol to help more than 100 displaced horses get to a safe location in Ramona.
“The ranches are underwater, all from here down there is underwater,” said Rioz while pointing to the locations.
Adjacent to one deeply impacted road on Hollister Street lies stables also drenched in contaminated water flowing from Mexico into the United States.
It raised health concerns for Melissa Shanholtz, a horse trainer nearby.
“It’s not like it’s clean water, it’s gross and it smells bad. And I’m sure it has nasty diseases in it, and I don’t want my horses to catch it,” Shanholtz said.
According to the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, the total volume of transboundary flow now stands at nearly 9 billion gallons.
It makes up a dangerous combination of sewage, groundwater and stormwater now impacting nearby communities.
“It’s a known thing, but it seems like it’s an ignored thing it doesn’t ever get better, and yes we haven’t flooded for a while, but it happens, and it happens because we have a lot of trash down here, this general area is ignored,” Shanholtz said.
While residents demand answers and solutions, people ended their day grateful for the helping hands in a time of trouble.
“We have all separate ranches here but when something like this happens, everybody comes together,” Rioz explained. “We risk our lives out there and we don’t care because the adrenaline is going on.”