Austin Flood Control Improvements Could Cost $4 Billion

A draft report on how to avoid storm-related flooding in Austin and save lives said improvements could cost up to $4 billion.

The Austin American-Statesman reported Monday that the Flood Mitigation Task Force recommends increased public awareness with efforts including installation of emergency sirens.

Another suggestion would be to regularly create maps of "potential flood problem areas" and use that information to hold the line on development. Task force members also recommend more rain and flood gauges.

The cost of addressing flooding is estimated at $2 billion to $4 billion, said the report. Authors recommend the city take on more debt every five years until the proposed projects are completed and drainage systems are fixed.

"We recognize that the cost of making the necessary improvements will require a significant expenditure by the City for the foreseeable future," the report said. "We also recognize the real and ongoing costs in terms of quality of life, flood damage (existing and potential), and life-safety will continue to affect the city if Austin does not have the fortitude to effectively address flood mitigation."

Flooding last fall in Texas claimed seven lives, with victims in the Austin, San Antonio and Houston areas. Central Texas flooding last May left two dozen people dead.

The Austin City Council on Thursday is expected to consider spending up to $1 million on a computer program that incorporates flood information.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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