Assessing the State of Flood in Texas March 2018
With 55 percent of Texas experiencing drought as of February 27, it may be hard to believe that the state's traditionally wettest months—May and June across much of Texas—are just around the corner, followed by the start of the rainfall season for the western part of the state in July. And then comes August, just five months from now, marking the first anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, when violent winds and torrential rainfall turned lives upside down.
Because of Texas' history with flood and the reality that it's an ongoing issue in the state, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has invested in a variety of programs to increase data collection and dissemination and to support improved flood forecasting and warning throughout Texas. Now, thanks to dedicated funding from the Texas Legislature in 2017, we are taking the next important step in preparing Texas to reduce the impacts of flood hazards by developing the first statewide flood assessment. The State Flood Assessment will provide a comprehensive understanding of existing programs, risks, and needs for floodplain management and mitigation across the state.
Due to the legislature by December 1, 2018, the State Flood Assessment will include a history of flooding in Texas; the roles of local, state, and federal agencies in preparing for, mitigating, and recovering from floods; a summary of planning and infrastructure needs; and stakeholder input on how flood planning should proceed in the state. The report will not include funding recommendations for specific strategies or projects related to flood planning, mitigation, warning, or recovery. Instead, this effort seeks to obtain and communicate information that will determine the need for and benefits of statewide flood planning and financial investment.
Several opportunities for stakeholder input and engagement will be available throughout March and April, including an online survey that aims to gather information from the more than 1,200 floodplain administrators in the state and other city and county officials and individuals with flood-related responsibilities. The survey will remain open through the end of April and will provide us with a better understanding of community-specific flood risks; current and prospective flood planning, mitigation, and protection activities; the financial needs tied to those activities; and input on policy considerations and the future of flood planning in Texas. We will also hold one-on-one meetings, participate in upcoming water-related conferences, and host eight regional workshops.
The stakeholder workshops will be held at the following locations:
- March 27: Austin, Lower Colorado River Authority's Dalchau Service Center
- March 29: El Paso, El Paso Water's TecH2O Center
- April 3: Nacogdoches, Stephen F. Austin State University
- April 5: Lubbock, Texas Tech University Innovation Hub at Research Park
- April 10: McAllen, McAllen Public Library
- April 17: Arlington, North Central Texas Council of Governments
- April 20: Houston, Harris County Flood Control District
- April 25: Corpus Christi, Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi
Additionally, a draft of the report will be posted for public comment this summer. To learn more about the TWDB's State Flood Assessment and related schedule, please visit the Texas Flood Assessment website.