Turn around, don’t drown: Buda finalizes plans for new flood warning systems

Late last month, Buda officials held the final public hearing for their Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) project, which will be put into place to improve safety at low water crossings across town.

On. Jan. 27, 2017, the city of Buda executed a Flood Protection Contract with the Texas Water Development Board and obtained a grant to install four new Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) at four separate low-water crossings.

The total cost of the project is $585,780, but Buda was only responsible for paying 50 percent of that cost.

“As the water rises, it will trigger an alert to the flasher,” Buda City Engineer John Nett said. “As it is set up, at a certain stage, it’s not going to wait for the water to get to the road. It will give the drivers adequate warning.”

According to Buda city staff, the FEWS will collect data on water levels that can be checked online by staff, who will then be able to respond to flash floods quicker. The goal is to reduce the threatening nature of flash floods in the area.

Each system is perched alongside a low-water crossing and is nearly the size of a street sign. The systems are fitted with solar panels and lights to signal danger.

The new systems will be located at the Onion Creek Bridge on FM 967, Cole Springs Road, Garlic Creek Culvert and Bluff Street. These areas are flood-prone roadways, according to city officials, who said the systems should be completely functional by Jan. 31, 2020.

Citizens who would like to follow data on each system can do so online at the Hays County Wet Map.

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