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Civil Engineers Say Texas Needs A Statewide Flood Plan

A new report lays out recommendations for dealing with flooding in the post-Harvey era.

An aerial view of the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, Aug. 31, 2017.

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Civil engineers across Texas say the state needs a comprehensive flood mitigation plan.

That’s one of multiple recommendations for dealing with flooding in the post-Harvey era described in a new report from the Texas chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The group says lawmakers should find the money for the statewide plan, along with putting more money into the state’s struggling dam safety program. The report cites a 2008 state audit that concluded the program was “not able to accomplish its statutory mandate to ensure the safe construction, maintenance, repair and removal of dams” in Texas.

Houston engineer Michael Bloom, who helped with the report, says another idea is making flood risk maps more nuanced than they currently are.

“Those maps could be enhanced to show multiple sources of flooding,” he says, “and maybe slightly more detail in terms of the gradation of risk.”

For example, Bloom says, people should know if their flood risk is near zero, or more like 10 or 20 percent over a certain period of time.

The report also calls for a more regional approach to planning, saying “flood water does not respect political boundaries.”

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