Flood Control Overview
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
September 9, 2004
Bexar County, the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio River Authority have been partners in the area of flood control for many years in this community. Numerous studies and capital improvement projects are the result of these collaborative efforts. As you examine the issue of flooding in the Bexar County area there are two major variables that play into this issue. On one hand you have the continued goal of developing information and applying resources to the concept of creating flood control. On the other hand you have the issue of Bexar County being a rapid developing community that is removing impervious cover as rooftops and parking lots appear which add to the additional runoff into existing drainage systems.
The issue of development in the County should be a win-win situation that can co-exist in support of each other. However, because of the continued level of development (i.e. rooftops and asphalt parking lots) in this community, the regulation of storm water runoff is as big an issue as it is the need to fund and develop additional capital improvement projects. While there is a need to encourage development within the community there has to be a balance that allows this growth, but also manages the effects of the development on the area. While the City of San Antonio is the key leader in the regulation of development in the area through the Unified Development Code (UDC) and their ongoing storm water utility program, there has to be similar regulation beyond the boundaries of the City limits. Even though there are certain levels of regulation within the extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ), any additional ability to manage this issue is the critical tool in the box. Bexar County will continue to propose legislation that provided the ability to manage and govern development in the area outside of the limits of San Antonio. Attempts have been proposed in the past to provide for some of regulation of development by Bexar County with no success.
As this process takes its course, there continues to be a need for flood control initiatives and improvements in the area. In recent times we have experienced the Floods of 1998, 2002, and the heavier than normal rains during the months of June and July 2004. So far this year, there are areas of the County that have received approximately 140% more rainfall than what is normal! Bexar County manages the County Flood Tax which provides for resources to address flood management. This resource has been utilized historically to fund flood control with the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) as a partner as Bexar County's program manager. Additionally, the City of San Antonio has also through separate bond programs and their current Storm Water Utility program provided resource to the area. For the period of 1991 through 2001, this community effort towards flood control has provided for an overall investment of $262,597,082 (local funds), which have leveraged an additional $80, 178, 621 (federal funds) for a total of $342,775,703 for flood control.
In reaction to the unfortunate Flood of 1998 the major partners in flood control have initiated, completed, or are planning a total of $94,354,914 in flood control efforts.
Some examples of Bexar County's role in these flood control efforts include the Cibolo Creek Watershed Area Study, the Lakewood Acre Buyout, Martinez Dam No.s 4, 5, and 6 rehabilitation, development of a City/County Joint Emergency Operations Center, 2002 National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) floodway cleanup, and the Salado Creek Dam Site 15R. All these efforts are recent and are in Precinct 4.