New flood warnings systems could get state funding

Water was running more than three feet over the water

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Water Development Board will award $3.5 million in grant money Thursday for projects that will help warn residents and first responders about potential flooding.

The funds are a part of the $6.8 million Texas Governor Greg Abbott gave the agency last year as a result of the deadly Memorial Day flooding along the Blanco River.

Over the last few months the board has received 41 applications, of those 17 projects will be selected to split the $3.5 million. The city of Austin is asking for about $100,000 to upgrade their www.ATXFloods.com website. It monitors all low water crossings in the area.

In Hays and Caldwell counties they have asked for a little more than $1 million in additional funding for new early warning systems along the Blanco River. Late last year the state funded new rain gauges upstream from Wimberley as a result of the deadly flooding.

“When we have stream gauges, rain gauges that are reporting real time information it helps us alert local emergency officials to either evacuate folks who might be in harms way and just plan and prepare for floods,” says Bech Bruum, Chairman, Texas Water Development Board.

In an effort to prepare for the next big flood – the Texas Water Development Board is asking state lawmakers to allot $12.5 million during this next session for spending on those early warning systems. The idea to be proactive instead of reactive to major flooding.

Austin area projects recommended by the Executive Administrator for funding:

  • Central Texas Council of Governments (Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam, Mills, and San Saba counties)
    • Requested $231,019 for an early warning system, flood response, and flood protection planning
    • Executive Administrator is recommending the full amount
  • City of Austin
    • Requested $100,000 for an early warning system
    • Executive Administrator is recommending $96,633.14
  • City of Buda
    • Requested $292,890 for an early warning  system
    • Executive Administrator is recommending the full amount
  • Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority – Caldwell County
    • Requested $70,688 for an early warning system
    • Executive Administrator is recommending the full amount
  • Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority – Hays County
    • Requested $37,406 for an early warning  system
    • Executive Administrator is recommending the full amount
  • Hays County
    • Requested $1,011,250 for an early warning system and flood response
    • Executive Administrator is recommending $500,000

Austin area projects that requested funding, but are not being recommended:

  • Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority
    • Requested $82,497 for an early warning system
  • City of New Braunfels
    • Requested $95,750 for an early warning system
  • City of Rollingwood
    • Requested $70,275 for flood response
  • City of Rockdale
    • Requested $35,000 for flood protection planning

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