Rock Beats

Floods illustrate importance of floodplain management program

Pictured from l to r: Paul Morales, Alysha Girard, Jimmy Vrabel, Lance Shellenberger, Danny Halden, and Ryan Beardmore.The recent floods from Tropical Storm Hermine demonstrated the importance of Round Rock’s floodplain management program, including our community’s eligibility to purchase flood insurance. Without the City’s floodplain management program, the Hermine event could have been more devastating for our community.


In the 1960s, insurance companies began to drop flooding from standard homeowners insurance. In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.


Residents of communities that don’t participate in the NFIP will not be able to purchase flood insurance.

“It’s important that we participate in the flood insurance program if we want our citizens to be protected in the event of a flood,” says Danny Halden, city engineer. “Furthermore, we try to be proactive in our floodplain management efforts. Our written guidelines for new developments are stricter than the FEMA-required guidelines. Almost all of the homes flooded in September were built before these guidelines were adopted.”


A floodplain is an area that is subject to inundation during storm events. Floodplain management involves managing development for safety, enforcing the FEMA-required regulations, and planning, monitoring and maintaining the City’s drainage system. The City has also had numerous projects to address drainage problems in older neighborhoods to help flood issues.


“When it rains, the water is going to go someplace,” says Danny. “We look at where it goes and how far it will spread so we can use that area wisely so lives and property aren’t put in danger. For a city, it isn’t wise to allow people to build in areas that have a high risk of flooding. Having to constantly deal with flooded structures creates a great deal of strain on local resources. If we develop areas wisely, it is going to save everyone in the long run, not just the person directly affected by the flood.”