By Haley Daily // 2020-08-04
Over the past few years Texas has experienced unpredictable weather ranging from storms that produce severe flooding to extended periods of drought. Stormwater banking is the idea to first capture floodwater in order to help mitigate its impacts to then store it in aquifers and utilize it during dry seasons when little rainfall is occurring. The University of Texas at Austin “quantified the amount of water flowing in major Texas rivers during heavy rains and found that there is enough room in coastal aquifers to store most of it” (“Storm Water Banking,” 2019). Cities such as San Antonio, El Paso and Kerrville already have begun implementing stormwater banking. Hazardous flooding is a persistent problem throughout the entire state.
Currently, Tropical Depression Imelda is affecting East Texas and forecasters are predicting that some areas could see up to 25 inches of rain before the storm dissipates (Bacon, 2019). This is unlikely to be the last severe tropical storm Texas will experience this year. Stormwater banking has the potential to prevent hazardous flood conditions and replenish aquifers that are being depleted. As unpredictable weather patterns continue, cities are having to invest in new infrastructures and methods of management in order to mitigate the harmful effects of volatile storms.
Ariticle originally appeared in Earthworks Environmental Quarterly Newsletter, Vol. 2, Issue 3, October 2019.
Bacon, J. (2019, September 18). Tropical Depression Imelda could dump 2 feet of rain on parts of Texas. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/09/18/tropical-storm-imelda-swamps-houston-texas-rain-flooding/2361304001/
Storm Water Banking Could Help Texas Manage Floods and Droughts. (2019, May 13). Retrieved September 18, 2019 from https://news.utexas.edu/2019/05/13/storm-water-banking-could-help-texas-manage-floods-and-droughts/
The Llano river flooding. Credit: Jonathan Cutrer. Retrieved from https://news.utexas.edu/2019/05/13/storm-water-banking-could-help-texas-manage-floods-and-droughts/