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Amanda Fuller, Director of the Texas Coast and Water Program at the National Wildlife Federation, discusses the importance of incorporating natural infrastructure into area flood planning efforts. She highlights the multiple benefits of nature-based approaches and emphasized the importance of centering equity concerns in infrastructure planning.

The presentation was originally made to the Houston Galveston Area Council Flood Management Committee on July 15, 2020.

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The Texas Living Waters Project has released the 2020 Texas Water Conservation Scorecard, an in-depth analysis and ranking of the water conservation efforts of more than 300 water utilities in Texas. Taken in conjunction with the 2016 report, the 2020 Scorecard reveals many utilities are not taking serious actions to advance water conservation.

The Scorecard is an evaluation of utilities level of effort to advance water conservation rather than their performance in achieving conservation with the exception of two scoring criteria: their records on water loss and whether they met targets for reducing per-capita water use. Other scoring criteria evaluate a utility’s compliance with water conservation planning and reporting requirements, outdoor watering limits, and rate-based incentives for efficient use of water.

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Starting in 2020, Texas stakeholders will have the opportunity to determine the best flood mitigation strategies for their region through a process called “flood planning.” Regional Flood Planning Groups will lead this effort, as prescribed by Senate Bill 8 enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2019.

Participating in the regional flood planning process as a RFPG member is a momentous opportunity to serve Texas communities. As a RFPG member, designees will not only advocate for the flood protection needs of their region, but will also have an opportunity to amplify Texas as a national leader in flood mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.

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The Hill Country is no stranger to flooding. In 2015, the Memorial Day flood brought devastating rains to the region. As flood events grow stronger and more frequent, it is more important than ever to take advantage of opportunities to protect our citizens and natural heritage from these events.

Senate Bill 7, established by the Texas Legislature in 2019, created the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF). The FIF is an important step towards building a more resilient Texas. Last fall, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment to allocate $793 million to the FIF for structural and nonstructural flood mitigation projects, to be administered by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).

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