Watershed Protection is planning Phase 2 of a project to help with flooding along the middle portion of Williamson Creek from West Gate to South Congress Ave.

Community Survey

Community Meetings

Thank you to everyone who joined us for two community meetings to go over the survey results and discuss next steps for the project. Below is a recording of one of the meetings or you can view a PDF of the presentation.

Possible Solutions

In Phase 1, we bought 52 homes in the project area that had the highest risk of flooding. However, close to 400 buildings remain at risk of flooding along the middle stretch of Williamson Creek. Watershed Protection has been conducting an engineering feasibility study to evaluate ways to reduce the risk of flooding for these buildings. Three alternatives stand out as having the most potential:

These alternatives are being evaluated based on a variety of factors that take into account their effectiveness, costs, challenges associated with implementing them, and public input.

Nothing has been decided yet. Once we get the results of the survey, we will finalize the feasibility study and move on to preliminary engineering. During preliminary engineering, we will complete a more detailed analysis of the three possible solutions.

Watch the video to find out more about possible solutions.

(Click here for Spanish video)

Map of Project Area

Map of project area

Background and Phase 1

This area experienced serious flooding in 1998, 2001 and 2013. After the floods in 1998 and 2001, we partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and evaluated widening the creek, raising bridges, detention ponds and buyouts. Public meetings and surveys were conducted between 2002 and 2006. Ultimately, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found that only buyouts in some areas met their funding criteria and provided full flood protection. The City of Austin bought houses in the Bayton Loop area near West Gate as a result.

In 2015, as Phase 1 of this project, we offered buyouts in four more areas between Menchaca and South Congress. 52 households chose to sell their homes and move. 

Timeline and Process

Our capital improvement projects take many years from start to finish. The process typically includes the following phases: 

  • Feasibility Study – when the potential of several solutions is evaluated. 
  • Preliminary Engineering – when a solution is identified and costs are updated. 
  • Design – when the details are worked out and construction plans are drawn up. 
  • Permitting and Bidding – when all permits are acquired and a contractor is hired. 
  • Construction – when the project is built. 

We are currently in the Feasibility Study step for Phase 2. Once we have the results of the Community Survey, we will finalized the Feasibility Study and move into Preliminary Engineering. 

Cost

Please note that all three options are costly, and the Watershed Protection Department does not currently have the funds to construct them. We would need to secure funding before implementing any of these projects. In the past, similar projects have been funded through a combination of federal grants, drainage utility funds and different types of bonds.  

Maintenance of Buyout Area

We own 52 lots in the project area. We maintain buyout areas as open space. Natural areas help filter pollutants and improve water quality. They also help prevent erosion and provide habitat for a diverse group of animals. We have some options on the type of maintenance provided, and we have conducted surveys to find out community preferences.  

Find out more about the maintenance of the Williamson Creek buyout areas here and general information on our Green Infrastructure Management web page. For maintenance questions and concerns, please call 3-1-1.

Documents

CORRECTION: There was an error in the legend of the Alternative 1 Optional Buyouts map on the flyer that was mailed to residents. The legend should have indicated that orange dots show the structures at risk of flooding with 13.5 inches of rain and yellow dots show structures at risk of flooding with 9 inches of rain. The corrected version of the flyer is below.

Questions?

Please email MiddleWilliamsonProject@austintexas.gov or call 512-974-3496.