State board discusses how new flood preparedness program will benefit East Texans

WEBXTRA: Texas Water Development Board flood outreach meeting in Tyler

TYLER, Texas (KLTV/KTRE) - The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) held an outreach program Wednesday to discuss the recent implementation of flood-related legislation, as well as a new program developed to help deal with future flooding across the state.

The outreach workshop was held at the Ornelas Activity Center in Tyler, where board members explained how TWDB’s role in flood planning and financing was expanded by the 86th Texas Legislature.

“We don’t know what’s coming, or when it’s going to come, but if we can build out so we’re prepared, we can prevent these types of disasters,” said Kathleen Jackson, director of TWDB. “I think that’s the whole game plan, that’s why this is so different than what we’ve done before, is that we want to get ahead of this.”

During the presentation, Jackson mentioned that from experience, flooding in East Texas is inevitable, and it’s not a matter of if, but when it happens. Instead of waiting for a flood, Jackson explained the purpose of TWDB would be creating a plan of how to plan for natural disaster and how to work through it.

“I think it’s kind of incumbent on all of us to make sure that we have an abundant water supply... but also, that we are protected during times of flood, and we do the kind of things we need to do - both structural and non-structural - to mitigate flood,” said Jackson.

Flood-related legislation signed Governor Greg Abbott includes Senate Bill (SB) 7, SB 8, SB 500, and House Joint Resolution 4.

The legislature also authorized a one-time transfer of $793 million from the state’s Economic Stabilization or “Rainy Day” Fund to create a new flood funding program to be administered by the TWDB. The program is designed to make the implementation of drainage and flood projects more affordable for Texas communities and to meet immediate needs for funding.

The first regional flood plans will be due in 2023, and the first state flood plan will be due Sept. 1, 2024, according to TWDB.

Copyright 2019 KLTV and KTRE. All rights reserved.