The Texas Water Development board is devising the first Texas flood plan to help mitigate future flooding disasters as a response to dramatic inundation from earlier this year, including Hurricane Harvey.
Over the next year, the Texas Water Development Board will compile the State Flood Plan for Texas, a first-generation comprehensive report that will appraise flood risks of municipals and counties from all across the state. State lawmakers approved $600,000 to be allocated to the Texas Water Development Board to support the development of the plan.
Texas State alumna Mindy Conyers was named the State Flood Plan Coordinator by the Texas Water Development Board on Oct. 2. Conyers will compile information collected by hired contractors and oversee the drafting of the plan.
“The main goals of the state flood plan are to assess the history and risk of flooding in the state, estimate flood mitigation costs, and determine the future of flood planning in Texas,” Conyers said.
Contractors will collect and present local mitigation efforts with funding and policy recommendations once the plan is completed. The Texas Water Development Board will also be planning public meetings across the state to give citizens and officials from every corner a voice in the report.
“Throughout the development of the state flood plan, TWDB staff and its contractor will reach out to communities and host public meetings to receive thoughts, ideas, and suggestions from a variety of stakeholders,” Conyers said.
The City of San Marcos drafted the 10-Year Capital Improvements Plan in September, an extensive to-do list that focuses on enhancing infrastructure across the city. The Capital Improvements Plan includes a number of water-management infrastructure improvements that could be affected by the State Flood Plan for Texas.
Richard Reynosa, senior engineer and floodplain manager for the city of San Marcos, works with the city’s water-management infrastructure on a daily basis.
“The city doesn’t have a specific flood strategy, but does regulate development in the floodplain through the City Code Chapter 39: Flood Damage Prevention,” Reynosa said.
San Marcos is prone to flooding from the San Marcos River, Blanco River and Purgatory Creek. The Federal Emergency Management Agency released preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Hays County in August and is continuing to update information, but the official FIRM the city uses is dated for 2005.
“The city has identified a number of areas with local and regional drainage concerns,” Reynosa said. “These have been added to the 10-Year Capital Improvements Plan to study, design and construct drainage infrastructure improvements.”
Conyers said, “At this point, it’s too early to know exactly what kind of effect the state flood plan will have on local and county flood planning and strategies.”
The State Flood Plan for Texas will be delivered in December 2018 prior to the start of the next Texas Legislative Session and will provide information and policy recommendations for the state to use in developing comprehensive flood management in Texas.