Lt. Gov. Patrick: Save water and lives with small dams on Texas rivers

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Texas leaders look to prevent future floods like those in Hays County late last month, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tells KXAN it would likely be part of an interim charge he will ask state lawmakers to tackle ahead of the next legislative session in 2017.

With a bigger focus on the state’s water needs, Patrick said flood safety would also be part of the conversation. He suggested ideas like alarms or sirens along waterways with little to no warning systems, emergency notifications for tourists staying in flood-prone areas, and perhaps small dams on various rivers throughout Texas.

“I’m not talking about massive dams,” Patrick said Thursday. “I’m not talking about the Hoover Dam. I’m talking about small dams. This was really a suggestion by some of the people there.”

Patrick acknowledged the need to study the idea further, especially with a potentially high price tag associated with such infrastructure. But he added that small dams might not only save lives and property, but might also help the state retain water in a time when the resource is scarce in many areas.

“Much of the water that flowed down that night…went into the Gulf of Mexico,” he explained. “We lost it, and we need it.”

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