Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program became mandatory as a result of House Bill 1018 passed by the Texas Legislative in 1999. Of the approximately 1,400 eligible communities statewide, 993 communities were participating in the NFIP. The remainder needed to participate no later than January 1, 2001, to be in compliance with state law. Residents of non-participating communities were ineligible to receive federal loan assistance to construct a home or business in a designated flood prone area. Loans guaranteed or underwritten by the Federal Housing Administration and the Farmers Home Administration require flood insurance. In addition, federal disaster relief was not available to mitigate flood damage in non-participating communities.
The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) was the state’s designated lead in cooperating with FEMA in planning and carrying out of state participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. This included, but is not limited to, providing training and technical assistance to communities so that they may have programs and ordinances in place to qualify under the federal program. The LCRA coordinated with the TNRCC in providing such assistance to the communities within the lower Colorado River basin. Expanded training and technical assistance was identified by the Steering Committee as a proposed objective for the coalition.
TNRCC and local water quality protection programs also had the potential to prevent or reduce flooding. Increase development in the watershed will increase impervious cover, thus potentially increasing runoff. This runoff may not only increase containment levels in streams, it may also increase flood flow and floodplain boundaries. Stormwater permitting programs have the ability to retain this runoff as well as protect water quality. Certain management practices to protect water quality such as natural riparian buffer areas have the added benefit of flood control. Such measures that provide this dual benefit should be encouraged, where appropriate. Coordination between TNRCC, local stormwater permitting programs, and floodplain management programs could help achieve flood reduction objectives.