Recognizing that Texas leads the nation in human and financial losses from floods, the Texas Legislature in 2017 authorized funding to develop a State Flood Assessment. The purpose of the Assessment was three-fold:
- Assess risks and roles in flooding
- Estimate flood mitigation costs
- Determine the future of flood planning in Texas
The 2017 funding continued and expanded State efforts that had begun in 2015 to make more resources available to state and local entities for floodplain management. Those efforts included Texas Water Development Board programs to increase data collection, data dissemination and studies to support improved flood forecasting and warning throughout the state.
As part of an engineering team assisting the TWDB, Laura Raun Public Relations led the Public Outreach component of the State Flood Assessment. LRPR helped Halff Associates, the prime consultant, develop strategic messaging for stakeholder meetings and social media as well as survey questions aimed at floodplain managers. We planned and helped carry out 8 Stakeholder Workshops across Texas that drew more than 330 attendees. We also assisted in development of an Informational Survey of floodplain managers and other parties interested in flooding, which drew more than 1,000 responses. In addition, LRPR created social media content for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to publicize the Flood Assessment process, Stakeholder Workshops and Informational Survey.
The TWDB received an extensive amount of information through the stakeholder-driven process to enable it to assess flood risks, estimate mitigation costs and determine the future of flood planning in Texas.