AUSTIN, Texas — Right after a night of heavy rainfall that brought some flooding to the Central Texas area, the Austin City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution addressing long-term flood plans across the city.
Item 48 aims to address floodproofing, flood insurance, emergency preparedness, and a memorial marker and mural.
The item's passage comes as the area approaches the anniversaries of the Halloween floods of 2013 and 2015.
“When you see people covered in mud head to toe with no water, no food, you take it upon yourself to help,” District 2 resident Frances Acuña said. “You don’t have words for people. You just try to help them.”
According to a press release from District 2 Council Member Vanessa Fuentes, Acuña witnessed the devastation that took place in the Onion Creek area when she went out into the storm to get her children several years ago.
“William Cannon was closed. Pleasant Valley was closed. Bluff Springs was closed. I had to go around to Slaughter Lane to pick up my kids,” she said.
So, she took her small pickup truck to gather whatever she could to help her neighbors in need.
“It looked like the end of the world – cars all over the place, refrigerators too,” she said. “People were crying. It was devastating. I had never seen anything like this, not even in movies.”
Fuentes said hearing stories like Acuña's urged her to make this her first policy initiative on the council.
“We’ve already seen the havoc flooding can do to our city,” Fuentes said. “We’re just one storm away from another disaster and District 2 continues to be at the greatest risk. We have a duty to protect our communities.”
Item 48 urges the city manager to do the following:
- Identify funding opportunities and inform the community on available funding to flood proof properties for tenants and homeowners
- Install a Halloween Flood memorial in Onion Creek Metropolitan Park in remembrance of the lives and property lost during the 2013 and 2015 Halloween Floods
- Contract opportunities to provide community emergency preparedness and response training
- Advocate and secure support for affordable flood insurance for renters and homeowners
Overnight, a Flood Warning was again issued for Onion Creek as the river nearly approached 20 feet.
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