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Texas Water Development Board to hold hearing on emergency flood funding

For immediate release. Contact: Media Relations at 512-463-5129

AUSTIN – (December 1, 2015) –-Today the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) announced plans to hold a stakeholder meeting to discuss the utilization of emergency flood funding recently directed by Governor Greg Abbott. The hearing will be held on December 14, 2015, at 1:00 p.m., in room E1.012 of the Texas Capitol.

In November, Governor Abbott authorized the transfer of $6.8 million from the Disaster Contingency Account to the TWDB for the development of a high-tech network of stream gages and to provide additional technical assistance and outreach for floodplain management and planning. The TWDB and the Office of the Governor have entered into an interagency contract enabling the agency to administer the emergency appropriations.

"The emergency transfer of these funds is imperative to our state's future in preparing for flooding events," said Governor Abbott. "It is critical that our state has sophisticated technology and enhanced floodplain planning in place to respond to emergency situations associated with flooding. These funds will assist the state in not only better preparing for floods, but being able to report accurate and timely information as it arises. I am confident that these funds will help to better protect the health, public safety, and economic prosperity of all Texans."

On November 5, Governor Abbott determined that an emergency exists with respect to flood notification systems and floodplain management and requested emergency appropriations from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The Comptroller then endorsed the proposed use of the funds and certified that there was a sufficient balance in the Disaster Contingency Account. The Legislative Budget Board approved the appropriation request on November 16.

During the 2015 legislative session, Senator Kirk Watson authored an amendment to House Bill 6 directing funding to the Disaster Contingency Account for floodplain management.

"In the wake of the Memorial Day floods, it became painfully clear that communities throughout Texas needed better information in order to save lives and property," Senator Watson said. "We might not be able to avert a natural disaster, but we can do more to keep Texans out of harm's way. This investment is long overdue and I'm hopeful it is only the beginning of a renewed state commitment to flood preparedness."

"The TWDB stands ready to administer these funds in a manner consistent with the Governor's emergency order," said TWDB Board Chairman Bech Bruun. "Thanks to the leadership of Governor Abbott and Senator Watson, the TWDB will be able to provide the necessary equipment and technology to better prepare the state for flooding events."

The TWDB encourages the public to attend the hearing and to provide input on how to best distribute these emergency appropriations. Interested stakeholders who are unable to attend the hearing can submit comments via email to
public-comment@twdb.texas.gov. -

For more information on the public hearing, please contact Kimberly Leggett at Kimberly.Leggett@twdb.texas.gov or 512-463-5129.

The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning, and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state's water resources. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.