Jul 17, 2019

Texas Updates Flood Mitigation Plan

Legislation was passed following Hurricane Harvey to mitigate flooding 

Legislation was passed following Hurricane Harvey to mitigate flooding

The state of Texas is revamping its current state water plan. According to Pacific Standard, the plan is a “wishlist” of projects with a goal of flood mitigation across the state. Texas lawmakers passed legislation following Hurricane Harvey that will help with storm recovery and flood control, among other disaster relief efforts.

It is a good sign when states “step up and own part of the flood risk management problems happening in their own state," said Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Assn. of State Floodplain Managers, to Pacific Standard.

Bergennis said few states have plans like this to help communities with flood control projects; however, he comments that some states have flood management strategies in place. For example, Illinois pays for floodplain mapping and so does the state of Minnesota. This usually is something the federal government will handle, Bergennis said to Pacific Standard. Minnesota also offers a program that gives communities grants to help obtain federal funds for such projects. 

A former recovery director for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Daniel Craig, said to Pacific Standard that approximately two-thirds of states cover local matching funds after disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. Craig currently is the chief operating officer at Tidal Basin, a private disaster recovery consultancy.

"There's been a huge emphasis on that, and it's great to see Texas adding that as kind of a priority," Craig said to Pacific Standard. "Recovery doesn't start until debris is taken off the streets."

The state also is working on another issue when it comes to floods–debris removal. According to Pacific Standard, the state is working to secure contracts for debris removal before more storms hit. Securing contracts now would help local officials during a severe weather event, so officials would not have to go and find contractors in the midst of the event.