Recent “super storms” in Texas and around the country remind us that urban and coastal waters can cause catastrophic damages to communities. Aqua Strategies has exceptional capabilities and experience in flood modeling, data evaluation, and planning. We can deploy the latest modeling capabilities, in urban areas where the risk is based on surface water flooding, and in coastal areas where risks are compounded by intensifying tidal surges and sea level rise. Our studies include risk of failure of flood mitigation infrastructure such as dams and levees. Surface water modeling software used includes: RAS2D; HEC-HMS; HSPF; SWAT; WASP; EFDC, SWMM; and many others. In 2018 and 2019, Aqua Strategies helped the Texas Water Development Board develop the TWDB State Flood Plan, which is an important first step in the state’s multi-billion dollar initiative on flood mitigation.
Project: Recommendations to Enhance Statewide Early Flood Forecasting System for Texas Communities
Client: Texas Water Development Board Date: 2016 -2017 Keywords: Water Planning; Water Modeling; Stakeholder Involvement; Public Policy; Resilience; Risk Analysis; Decision Support Tools; Data Collection; Data Analysis; Data Visualization
Texas’ flood forecasting system operates with close coordination between the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), but depends upon a vast network of data collection points to inform numerical flood models used to identify and warn vulnerable Texas communities. Aqua Strategies, Inc. (ASI), in a Joint-Venture with Vieux, was tasked to evaluate the existing network of rain gages and steam gages and work with communities and federal/state/local agencies to recommend additional measures to improve data collection and resulting flood modeling predictions.
To initiate the project, the ASI Team collected and processed historical data to identify vulnerable communities with the most critical needs for enhanced flood forecasting capabilities. Communities were selected by using an objective, analytical framework to determine those either not served or inadequately served by the existing flood forecasting network of rain gages and stream gages.
Using flood prediction models (Vflo), the ASI Team quantified the improved lead times each proposed gage would improve future flood prediction capabilities. Ultimately, 42 new, full-range, real-time stream gages were recommended to optimize the most communities to be protected. Because of capital budget limitations, the ASI prioritized 30 new stream gage installations to meet the available budget.
To add value to the project, ASI identified 5(??) existing USGS stream gages that were not currently integrated with the existing flood forecasting model. ASI’s additional analysis and recommendations enabled additional communities to have enhanced flood forecasting services at no additional cost to the original budget.
The ASI Team also provided detailed maps – based on multiple stream modeling runs – to locate each new gage with the goal of optimizing data collection to protect the greatest population densities and associated property/infrastructure. Lastly, ASI developed a decision support tool to prioritize the construction of each recommended rain gage and stream gage.