By Haley Daily // 2020-08-25
Flooding remains to be a reoccurring challenge across the state of Texas regardless of the city or county. Mass quantities and high velocity of water can transport pollutants without proper filtration, ultimately lowering water quality. Flooding also has the potential to damage not only vital infrastructures, but also endangers those who are caught in its wake.
In Kingsland, Texas during last October the 2900 bridge over the Llano River collapsed due to flooding. The bridge collapse led to citizens having to evacuate to higher ground and Texas Governor Greg Abbott had declared a state of emergency in 18 counties (“Texas Flooding,” 2018). Flooding has the ability to cause thousands of dollars of property damages and can be life threatening if strategies are not in place to mitigate destruction.
Legislature across the state is allocating more resources to identify and remedy infrastructure deficiencies. Harris County, Texas, has applied for a $320,000 federal grant to evaluate a potential flood protection project (“Harris County,” 2019). The possible flood project will assess the effectiveness of using deep tunnels to transport storm water to Houston’s ship channel. Other cities such as Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio have already built stormwater tunnels to manage mass quantities of water.
In Austin the Waller Creek Flood Control Tunnel Project consists of a stormwater bypass tunnel that addresses “high priority flooding, erosion and water quality problems” (“Waller Creek,” n.d.). The tunnel captures water from Waterloo Park and directs it to Lady Bird Lake. The Waller Creek Tunnel will protect lives from the dangers of “flash flooding, remove more than 28 acres of downtown from the floodplain, protect 42 structures, 12 roadways and create an environment suitable for redevelopment” (“Waller Creek,” n.d.). Investing in infrastructure, such as tunnels, is one approach to help manage high volumes of water flow while reducing the hazards associated with flooding.
As areas become more urbanized and impervious surfaces increase the rate of water runoff also increases. Cities are more prone to flooding and need to develop strategic management practices to prepare for heavy rains. Exploring new ideas and ways to direct water runoff is one component of developing a resilient stormwater management plan to combat the negative affects associated with storm events.
Harris County, Texas, Explores Deep Tunnel Flood Protection Plan. (2019, February 26). Retrieved March 12, 2019, from https://www.estormwater.com/flood-control/harris-county-texas-explores-deep-tunnel-flood-protection-plan
Texas Flooding Leads to Bridge Collapse. (2018, October 17). Retrieved March 12, 2019, from https://www.estormwater.com/flood-control/texas-flooding-leads-bridge-collapse
Waller Creek Flood Control Tunnel. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2019, from http://www.austintexas.gov/department/waller-creek-tunnel