Texas Flood Plan Must Center Communities and Nature

Kristen Schlemmer | August 30, 2019

Earlier this year, the Texas legislature released $793 million from its Rainy Day Fund to pay for flood mitigation projects across the state. As the Texas Water Development Board creates a program for disbursing the funds, Bayou City Waterkeeper asked the state agency to center communities in the process,  prioritize moving people out of harm’s way, and work with, not against, nature.

In our comment letter, Bayou City Waterkeeper details the benefits of nature-based solutions in making Texas, and the greater Galveston-Houston area in particular, more resilient to flooding, storm surges, and sea-level rise. We also urge the water agency to make property buyouts equitable by being “proactive with disaster preparation,” involving “communities in weighing buyout and relocation pros and cons,” and choosing “solutions that avoid new problems.” To aid the agency in its work, we give examples of successful buyouts across the country, including a recent buyout program in hurricane-battered Kinston, North Carolina.

For more information about the Texas Water Development Board’s flood mitigation planning, read the Frequently Asked Questions on the agency’s website.