In the middle of a terrible drought, it's difficult to be concerned about flooding, but floods will come again one day, and city leaders want Austinites to be aware of the risks throughout town.
The Watershed Protection Department has completed a new floodplain analysis of eight creeks that run through the city. With updated and more accurate data points, floodplain managers have identified some areas that are in the 100-year floodplain that were not before, meaning there's a one-in-a-hundred chance of a major flood each year.
Isabel Castro has lived in her Brentwood home for more than 30 years.
"I don't need anybody to tell me it's in the flood plain. It's right by the creek, and I've seen it flood so often,” she said. “But it's never gotten into my house and I was here for the ‘80 you know, the big bad flood."
The new data helps watershed managers understand how Austin creeks behave and that information can change the flood zones.
"We have a better idea of how that water gets out of the creek and then flows through the neighborhood and back into the channel and so, while areas along here are removed from the floodplain, we had an area up here that was actually included," Kevin Shunk, city floodplain administrator, said.
Some areas, like the Grover arm of Shoal Creek in the Brentwood neighborhood, have never been mapped before.
"The flood risk was always there. Now we're just able to put it on a map so that citizens can see that the flood risk exists," Shunk said.
The new data also means that some areas previously thought to be at risk are no longer in the flood zone. The city has an interactive map that can check any address for floodplain risk.
Three public meetings have been scheduled to look over the new flood data.