While many Buda residents are recovering from the May 2015 flood, a $500,000 state grant is expected to help the city potentially mitigate future disastrous floods.
According to city documents, the grant, which was authorized in August 2016 by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) for roughly $585,000, will be used to support construction of permanent Flood Emergency Warning System (FEWS) installations along flood-prone roads in Buda.
Buda City Engineer John Nett said Buda applied for the grant through the TWDB by identifying five areas that are highly susceptible to flooding.
The five areas were “ranked on a priority basis,” said Nett at the Jan. 17 council meeting.
The estimated cost of installing the FEWS is $362,649.10. Buda will offer a 50 percent match, which totals $181,324.55.
Buda City Manager Kenneth Williams said Jan. 17 money for the matching funds would have to come from the city’s general fund as Buda did not include it the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget.
Brian Lillibridge, Buda water specialist, said in an emailed response that while the TWDB awarded Hays County a separate grant for an early warning flood system, the county’s and city’s system would be compatible with one another in order to share information at a faster rate.
“These are separate systems, but the city is working with the Hays County Office of Emergency Management (HCOEM) to select equipment that will be compatible with and feed local data from Buda into the county-wide network that HCOEM is putting in place,” Lillibridge said in the email.
Lillibridge also said city staff has been working closely with HCOEM staff for “technical guidance and insight into FEWS equipment selection” to better equip both entities for flood mitigation collaboration in the future.
“Localized flooding does occur but the reality is that the nature of flooding experienced in our area often ends up being a regional event,” Lillibridge said. “This type of collaboration between the county and the city leverages individual efforts to benefit the greatest amount of Hays County residents possible.”
Lillibridge said Buda will be installing one FEWS with the automated signals digitally connected to it, which will send updated information such as precipitation, stream levels and water rise to a monitoring location.
“The city is responsible for maintaining the equipment installed at the 5 locations within our city limits,” Lillibridge said. “The goal is to have our equipment provide local area data to the publicly accessible flood information system that HCOEM is putting together which will be maintained by them.”
Council members approved the execution of the contract for the FEWS with the TWDB at the Jan 17 meeting.
“I want to say congratulations on all your hard work,” Councilmember Eileen Altmiller told Nett at the meeting.
It’s unknown at this time when work on the installation of the system will commence.
Proposed Early Warning Systems locations
- Onion Creek Bridge on RM 967
- Cole Springs Rd at RM 967
- Garlic Creek Culvert on RM 967
- Bluff Street at FM 2770
- Main Street at Bradfield Park