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Fed up with flooding, North Charleston family fights water with water

North Charleston family using Aqua Dam to prevent flooding (WCIV)

Hurricane Irma's rains have barely started to fall in the Lowcountry, but already two homes in North Charleston have 45,000 gallons of water in their yards in the form of an Aqua Dam.

With flash flooding likely as Hurricane Irma threatens to drop several inches of rain Monday, a North Charleston family decided to take matters into their own hands by fighting water with water.

The Smith family bought their first home on New Ryder Road in 2013.

"In 2015 the street had water in it 5 times," Amanda Smith says.

Two years in a row, the Smith's say their home flooded.

"You have to take out all the flooring, all the bottom dry wall. All your furniture is gone," Smith says of the recovery process

The Smith's say they were at the end of their rope when they decided to try an Aqua Dam as a last resort.

“It cost us $6,000, and then we had go buy a generator, four sump pump, a gas powered pump, and hundreds of feet of hose line. But, It's cheaper than being displaced for months and cheaper than replacing all your stuff," Smith says.

She says it's an ongoing issue for many living in Park Hill Retreat. Their neighbor across the street also bought an Aqua Dam.

"There are three houses that have been foreclosed on. Three houses that the owners just walked away from and washed their hands of it," Smith says.

But, Amanda says she can't throw in the towel yet.

"How can I ask someone else to do this? It's so frustrating and hard … it's a real struggle. I've thought about it, but I feel like I have a responsibility,” Smith says.

A responsibility to get the word out.

"This is about everybody in town that floods because the city is overdeveloping. We flood because of insufficient drainage. We flood because the drainage in this area was built before Northwoods mall was ever built and it hasn't been updated since," Smith says.

Smith says she's taken her concerns to the city several times, and has been told the fix requires Northwoods Mall's property owners to give up part of their parking lot.

Smith says she's asked about the city using eminent domain to take the property and perform the upgrades, but says that's not likely.

"(Mayor Keith Summey) won't do it. He specifically told me he will not use eminent domain for that," Smith says.

So for now she feels her only option is to stay, and she hopes the dam is the answer to her problems.

“If I walked away, then the next person wouldn't know. And they would be trapped in a nightmare," Smith says.

ABC News 4 has reached out to the City of North Charleston for comment. We are waiting to hear back.

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