Travis and Hays counties Team Up for Flood Prevention

Two counties are better than one

Memorial Day flooding along Shoal Creek in 2015
Memorial Day flooding along Shoal Creek in 2015 (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Late last month County Commissioners approved an interlocal agreement (ILA) to help handle flood mitigation efforts with Hays County. There'd been a push from the state Legislature to establish a Flood Control District in Central Texas – a separate governmental entity that would coordinate flood mitigation in the area – but County Judge Sarah Eckhardt told the Chronicle she believed that approach wouldn't be sustainable without a clear source of revenue. The ILA will instead make use of the same county employees at no additional cost, and make coordinated projects between Travis and Hays personnel easier to plan. The ILA is also expected to help ease partnerships with quasi-governmental bodies like the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, or the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District. Travis County has been moving in this cooperative direction since before the ILA. Earlier in April, commissioners adopted an integrated emergency services management plan that will create a new committee structure to better organize the county's emergency response resources. Eckhardt said this week that it's important for counties to take the lead in developing creative flood mitigation solutions. "County judges across Texas are the ones responsible for declaring emergencies," she said. "We are on the front lines when there is a major weather disaster, and nobody can deliver those services like counties." A community forum where residents can ask County Commissioners and staff about the new agreement and discuss emergency response and flood mitigation in general is scheduled for Wednesday, May 17, 6pm in the cafeteria at Popham Elementary on Elroy Road in Del Valle.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

flood mitigation, Sarah Eckhardt, Flood Control District

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