By Julye Keeble at the Uvalde Leader-News, December 6, 2020
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has approved $6,448,363 to be used for the first-ever Flood Infrastructure Fund projects, and Uvalde County will be receiving $219,000 to improve the area flood early warning system.
Uvalde County will add $81,000 in matching funds to construct a self-supporting tower to collect and transmit data from the early warning system, according to county consultant and grant writer Carl Esser, after the TWDB approved the grants when members met Thursday.
“The Flood Infrastructure Fund will strengthen our efforts to protect communities from devastating natural disasters by comprehensively addressing flood issues across the state,” said Gov. Greg Abbott.
The Flood Infrastructure Fund was created to provide funding for drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects. The fund’s creation was passed by the 86th Texas Legislature and voters approved it last year via a constitutional amendment.
“In 2019, Uvalde County, partnered with TWDB to complete and install a Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) where 13 sites received rainfall and stream flow gauges to provide for real-time rainfall and stream flow gage monitoring network,” Esser said. “The data received from the instrumentation in the field is transmitted to a shared tower site located in Uvalde.”
He said the current tower is not owned or controlled by the county, and only a verbal agreement is in place for its use.
In order to provide for sustainability to the flood early warning system, the county passed a resolution on Oct. 13 authorizing the submission of a grant application to construct a self-supporting tower to collect and transmit data from the real-time rainfall and streamflow-gage monitoring network.
“The county is expected to receive a contract for funding from the TWDB in January of 2021, and all activities including construction of the tower will be completed within 12 months,” Esser said.
He said the tower is planned to be constructed on county property at the road department headquarters in the 2000 block of U.S. Highway 83 North.
Other grant recipients
Of all the money approved by the TWDB, about $1,185,079 will be used to fund flood early warning system projects.
Others receiving grants to improve or construct flood warning systems include Bee County, which received $328,125 to develop a flood early warning system.
DeWitt County Drainage District No. 1 will receive $124,354 to establish a flood early warning system that utilizes 12 stream gages. The San Jacinto River Authority in Harris and Montgomery counties will receive $48,100 to install three new rain and stream gages at critical sites.
The Nueces County Drainage and Conservation District No. 2 will receive $465,500 for the installation of 12 to 15 flood early warning system stations at locations known to have repeated flooding.
TWDB says the approved projects are eligible for funding under category 4, measures immediately effective in protecting life and property, of the 2020 Flood Intended Use Plan. This category of funding was designed for projects that can be implemented quickly and are understood to be immediately effective in protecting life and property.
In total, the TWDB will administer $770 million in FIF financial assistance for structural and nonstructural flood projects. Of that $770 million, $231 million, or 30 percent, is allocated to grants and 70 percent, or $539 million, is allocated to loans with a zero percent interest rate.
Other flood fund applications currently undergoing review include drainage improvement projects, flood protection planning studies, floodplain mapping projects, stream gage networks, watershed studies, and more, which may be approved next year.
See the original article: https://www.uvaldeleadernews.com/articles/water-board-earmarks-219k-for-uvalde-area/