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Mitigating flood damage by monitoring the floodplain Posted on June 03, 2020


Transcript

Yi Chan – Community Assistance Program Manager, Texas Water Development Board (00:04):

Anywhere it rains, it can flood. So, it's really important to ensure that you are building and developing in the floodplain in ways that are going to keep your community members safe from flooding. We serve as the state coordinating office for the National Flood Insurance Program in Texas. We provide outreach, technical assistance, and training opportunities across the state of Texas related to floodplain management. So, we really serve as the liaison between FEMA and local communities. And in 2019, we traveled over 48,000 miles providing those services to Texas.

Matt Valentin – Emergency Management Specialist, Federal Emergency Management Agency (00:38):

It's a partnership. We're sharing the load to try and get Texas communities capable and trying to get them so that they know their floodplain and are able to make decisions properly regarding it.

GPS Voice (00:53):

Turn right onto West Loop South, then turn—.

Yi Chan – Community Assistance Program Manager, Texas Water Development Board (00:55):

So, a community assistance visit or a CAV, is a chance for us to do a comprehensive overview of a community's floodplain management program. In general, we want to choose communities that have had a lot of recent and expanding development, especially in the floodplain. On top of that, in the past couple of years, we've been trying to prioritize CAVs to do with communities that have been severely impacted by Harvey along the coast. So, it was for a combination of all of those reasons that we chose Houston. We take a look at the permitting processes, the ordinance and court orders related to floodplain development. And we also drive the entire floodplain to see how development in the floodplain is occurring.

Jessica Fleming – Program Specialist, Texas Water Development Board (01:35):

We want to check with the city and make sure that they have a permit for this project.

Yi Chan – Community Assistance Program Manager, Texas Water Development Board (01:40):

The co-pilot is using an app that we have on our tablets to look at structures and input points that we might want to revisit. And so that person's role is to guide the tour, and if we need to stop to look at anything, direct the driver to do that. Get out and take pictures if needed and plug everything into the app.

Jessica Fleming – Program Specialist, Texas Water Development Board (02:04):

Need a picture?

Yi Chan – Community Assistance Program Manager, Texas Water Development Board (02:05):

And in the floodplain, we want to make sure that homes are being elevated properly, including all mechanical and electrical utilities. So, if floodwaters were to pass by, that AC unit would just get yanked off of the block that it's on. If there is any sort of crawl space that's below that base flood elevation that they're supposed to be elevated to, we want to make sure that it's properly vented and built with particular materials. And we want to make sure that nobody's living in that space below that base flood elevation, because that is the area that could be subject to inundation if it floods.

We take all that data and we download it into a spreadsheet. And we'll review it once we're back in the office and provide that list of information to the floodplain administrator to see if there's any follow up needed.

Jessica Fleming – Program Specialist, Texas Water Development Board (02:51):

They were substantially damaged in—.

Yi Chan – Community Assistance Program Manager, Texas Water Development Board (02:53):

So, the Texas Water Development Board is not a regulatory agency, so we are not here to induce fines or regulations on any of these communities. We do work with the city or county to ensure that they are enforcing those regulations. Any opportunity that we're able to provide, to provide technical assistance or education, I feel like has a really great impact on both local officials and community members. And really, our ultimate goal of what we're trying to do is protect people from the impacts of flooding.

 

This article is posted in Flood .