The Texas Water Development Board is looking at what areas in Texas are the most vulnerable to flooding and how to mitigate flood damage.
After last year’s Memorial Day and Tax Day floods – and just before Harvey – the state’s Water Development Board received $600,000 to create a flood plan for Texas.
Said plan will consist of talking with local governments about what areas were damaged by flooding and what projects cities want to undertake to prevent catastrophes in the future.
From there, the Water Board will compile a list of these projects and submit them for consideration to the legislature, with suggestions on how to fund them included:
“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,” Water Board Deputy Executive Administrator Robert Mace said in an interview with the Texas Tribune.
The goal is for a plan to be finalized and ready for legislative review by the 2019 session.
With Harvey’s imagry driving home the necessity of flood safety and management, the state is already green-lighting money for a flood plan, and the EPA is fast-tracking loan money for projects related to Harvey’s flooding, now may be an opportune, cooperative time to devise a course of action.
According to the Tribune, the EPA’s loan program could be vital to the project, since aid money for Harvey repair is expected to be delayed by months or even years.
Harvey’s impacts further prompted a serious discussion on flood control in Houston specifically.
It also regenerated interest in a ‘coastal spine’ project, which, theoretically, would protect the bay and Texas’ largest city from storms, like Harvey or others down the line.
Of course, these projects could end up costing billions of dollars, meaning federal aid would effectively be required to actually begin the building process.
Despite the cost of implementing a state-wide flood control plan, experts agree its integral to the state’s welfare moving forward.
As Mace said: “…food risk is not going away in Texas.”