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San Antonio City Council Pushes For Flood Solutions

Joey Palacios

Following devastating floods that hit San Antonio over Memorial Day weekend, the City Council has reallocated $3.75 million for cleanup and repair projects.

Public Works Director Majed Al-Ghafry says the Federal Emergency Management Agency declined to assist San Antonio and surrounding areas cleanup and repair from the Memorial Day flood because the flooding didn't quite do enough damage. Guidelines require that damage totals $5.9 million or more locally for federal assistance to kick in.

Still, Public Works identified 135 projects totaling 3.75 million dollars in infrastructure cleanup and repair. Al-Ghafry says the majority of projects will be completed by October.

District 6 Councilman Ray Lopez told council at its meeting Thursday the city can reallocate funds to pay for these projects now, but wondered what would happen in the future.

"We will, I suspect, have events like this again, perhaps not in the same spot. And while you can tell people all day long, we can't predict where the water's going to fall, we can certainly do predictive modeling that'll help us spend our money wisely,” Lopez said.

Al-Ghafry told the council that City Manager Sheryl Sculley has been meeting with leaders from the Bexar Regional Watershed Management group. Partners including the San Antonio River Authority, Bexar County, and the city, he said, are looking for ways to prevent future disasters caused by floods.

"We've had full commitment by the partners to continue looking at those watersheds, identifying regional projects that will prevent future flooding in these specific areas, damaged areas, that were experienced during the Memorial weekend flooding event, but other areas as well,” Al-Ghafry said.

The Bexar Regional Watershed Management will be responsible for coming up with many of the future solutions to the area's flooding problems.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.