Today City officials explained proposals included in CodeNEXT that reduce the risk of flooding, use rainfall as a resource and maintain environmental protections.
Standing on a site that is almost entirely paved over, Matt Hollon, planning manager with Austin’s Watershed Protection Department, discussed the many older developments in Austin built with no flood protections. These older buildings and parking lots have no stormwater controls to limit how much and how fast stormwater runs off the site. These sites often contribute to downstream flooding. There are an estimated 2,000 properties with localized flooding issues due to stormwater runoff and undersized drainage systems in Austin.
CodeNEXT proposes to help this situation by requiring sites to manage their stormwater when they are redeveloped. Under CodeNEXT, developers would need to include drainage improvements when they redevelop these sites. For instance, the developers would need to include storm drain upgrades, a detention pond, or otherwise contribute to area flooding solutions. This is a significant improvement over current code, which does not require redevelopments to help with existing drainage problems.
Because Austin’s weather alternates between floods and droughts, CodeNEXT also has provisions to help make us more resilient to heat and droughts.
Draft 3 of CodeNEXT includes requirements for both new developments and redevelopments to include green stormwater solutions, such as rain gardens, rainwater harvesting and porous pavement. This type of green infrastructure helps us keep the water in our creeks clean and helps us use rainwater wisely. With CodeNEXT, the public will see new developments with more and healthier trees and vegetation, more shade and natural function, and all with less stress on our water-supply lakes.
Austin is in the heart of an area known as Flash Flood Alley. Regulations like CodeNEXT are one tool to help address Austin’s flooding and water quality issues. Together with Capital Improvement Projects and ongoing City programs, CodeNEXT will help to incrementally reduce flood risk and protect our creeks and natural resources.Today City officials explained proposals included in CodeNEXT that reduce the risk of flooding, use rainfall as a resource and maintain environmental protections.