News Feature | October 26, 2017

Texas To Make First-Ever Flood Plan

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

flooding houston slideshow new

After hurricane season left Houston in disrepair, Texas is drafting a flood plan for the entire state for the first time.

The project will consider the state's vulnerabilities and plan projects to mitigate them, according to The Texas Tribune.

“State lawmakers voted to give the agency $600,000 to create the state's first-ever flood plan. The document will broadly evaluate statewide flood risks and detail projects local governments want to pursue to mitigate those vulnerabilities with suggestions as to how the state could help fund or finance them,” the report said.

“The water development board aims to complete the plan before the Legislature convenes in 2019 so lawmakers will have official guidance as they decide which local projects to support,” the report said.

Robert Mace, the water development board's deputy executive administrator, described the project to the Tribune.

“What we are doing over the next year or so is a desktop assessment of who is doing what, what are in the local plans [and] how much is it going to cost,” he said. “It will be interesting to see: Are people on the same page or not in terms of what they would like to see from the state in terms of flood planning and flood policy?”

One example of a mitigation project already funded in Texas took place in the city of Lubbock, which received $35 million from the water board’s clean water state revolving fund for a drainage improvement project, according to Big Country Homepage.

But the path to funding a more comprehensive set of flood projects remains unclear.

“As water development board staff works on the flood plan, Mace said they will ask local officials if they'd like to see the state create a permanent funding stream to support flood control projects and if so, what such a program would look like and how projects should be ranked.

The total price tag of the flood plan will surely be in the many billions of dollars,” The Texas Tribune reported.

The damage from Hurricane Harvey have put Houston on a long road to recovery.

“Harvey dumped a record 50-plus inches of rain around Houston, putting highways under water and killing more than 70 people along the Texas coast. In Harris County, which includes Houston, at least 136,000 homes and other structures were flooded,” Insurance Journal reported.

Image credit: "Texas National Guard," The National Guard © 2017, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/