Texas Water Journal
By Michael Berg
Abstract: Even before the 86th Texas Legislature began, it was clear the session would feature a deluge of activity focused on addressing Texans’ experience with flooding. Elected representatives from across the state floated solutions for Hurricane Harvey and long-term issues alike, featuring a mix of both recovery projects and future planning efforts. Much attention has been paid to Senate Bill 7 and Senate Bill 8, which create major new statewide programs. Significant questions remain regarding the implementation of these bills. We wade into these uncertainties and the larger trends behind the legislative session. In all, 128 introduced bills specifically mentioned “flooding” or “flood,” far exceeding anything from the previous 10 sessions. Even more, 240 total introduced bills addressed issues with a clear connection to flooding. Of these, 67 (28%) went on to become legislation. As new laws go into effect, implementation ramps up, and funds trickle out, strong, sustained stakeholder engagement and communication will be key to making sure these programs hold water.
Keywords: flood, planning, infrastructure, recovery, resiliency