Going Forward - Rehabilitation and Regional Flood Mitigation (2020 and Beyond)
Next steps are to begin rehabilitation of the aging dams while continuing to evaluate regional flood mitigation projects on a watershed basis. For a list of active projects please see the Construction Projects section of the website.
Flood Protection Plan and Dam Assessment (2010-2020)
In September 2010, there was severe flooding throughout the watershed from Tropical Storm Hermine. Although the dams performed as expected, the District pursued a grant from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to study the Upper Brushy Creek Watershed to determine the primary risk areas and likely solutions for a Flood Protection Plan. You can download a study excerpt (10MB).
In 2012, the communities requested the District incorporate the Watershed Study data into new floodplain maps which was accomplished via a grant from FEMA through the TWDB. More detailed information about floodplain maps can be found here.
In 2017, the District began an comprehensive assessment of the existing dam inventory including their current capacities, conditions, and associated risks. The final report and associated tools were complete and published in 2020 providing the District a risk-based prioritization program for need studies, repairs, and rehabilitation projects. Summary report download.
Dam Modernization Projects (2002-2020)
Rapid urbanization coupled with increased regulations resulted in the State designating almost all District’s Dams as High Hazard due to downstream risks. (High Hazard refers to the consequences of a dam failure not the likelihood of one.) In 2001, the voters approved a 2-cent tax rate to fund the District’s operations, dam maintenance, and dam modernization program.
Once funding was approved, the District focused on meeting TCEQ’s updated standards for high hazard dams to safely pass the PMF (Probable Maximum Flood). These projects mainly raised the height of dams creating additional storage capacity to allow the flows to safely pass through the spillways; however, the projects did not include comprehensive rehabilitation efforts. The District’s focus was getting all the dams in compliance with the new regulations as quickly as possible. The final dam modernization project will start in 2020.
Setting the Foundation: Original Dam Construction (1956-66)
The Upper Brushy Creek dams were built by the federal agency then known as the Soil Conservation Service (now known as Natural Resources Conservation Service). The District served as the local sponsor securing easements and pledging long-term ownership and maintenance of the dams. The Districts 23 earthen dams were complete by 1966.