This week we’re going to go outside of the county lines and check out the Colorado River Basin area.
In any given year, damaging floods are likely to occur on at least one major river or stream in Texas, affecting hundreds or even thousands of homes and businesses, and often, loss of life. The problem of protecting lives and property from flooding in the lower Colorado River basin had become increasingly severe as a result of the rapid expansion of homes and businesses in the floodplain. There were devastating floods that occurred in all or part of the basin in 1991, 1997 and 1998. Unfortunately, local floodplain management efforts were sometimes ineffective due to the lack of coordination and sufficient technical support. Because watersheds do not follow political boundaries, the enormity of the devastation caused by riverine flooding can only be addressed through regional coordination and planning.
The Lower Colorado River Authority sponsored a year-long series of meetings, guided by a Steering Committee of local government officials, to study ways to address these problems. Their conclusion was that regional coordination and planning was needed.
In response, over sixty participating communities joined together to create the Texas Colorado River Floodplain Coalition.
This is their Mission Statement: “Encourage comprehensive consistent management of the floodplain along the Colorado River and its tributaries; provide a forum for data exchange; and facilitate a structured approach to managing the complex issues related to floodplain management.”
Goals: Cooperate arrangement for floodplain management, mechanism for sharing ideas and program, assist local government with technology, emergency management, training; have a single entity partner with which State and Federal agencies can correspond; current Flood Insurance Rate Maps [FIRMs] – Countywide; public education.
Technical Objectives: Adopt uniform standards for development; create and maintain accurate and current base mapping [benchmarks, corporate boundaries, roads, streams]; and update Zone A to establish Base Flood Elevations and floodways.
The Emergency Management Objectives are: Facilitate local floodplain management and emergency management program coordination; coordinate federal, state, and local resources and programs; help local communities meet state requirements for emergency response; facilitate a “flood preparedness plan” annex; and promote emergency communication/notification.
Training Objectives: Coordinate state and federal training programs; provide technical training for floodplain management and emergency managers; training for consistent hydrologic/hydraulic modeling; training for stakeholders; training for local officials; public awareness; and maintain a resource pool of Mutual Aid Trainers/Emergency Response Personnel.
Legislative/Legal/Funding Objectives: Work with Council of Governments; develop and manage annual budget; identify and pursue additional funding for diversified sources; review and educate lawmakers on related legislative issues as a coalition and via lobbyists associated with other agencies and assist with solicitation of federal funds for capital projects.
On Monday, August 24, 2009, there was a Coalition Regional meeting held at the San Saba Civic Center meeting room. [There will be three other such meetings held down the basin in the next couple of weeks.] There were representatives from the cities of Brady, Brownwood, Lometa and San Saba present. The National Weather Service gave a presentation on their Advanced Hydrologic Prediction System [AHPS] and how this system can become a great tool to local floodplain administrators and their work. The Lower Colorado River Authority gave a presentation on the Statewide Floodplain Mapping Needs and Risk MAP for our future needs.