Our Water: statewide lidar data furthers TWDB flood planning

Water

Enabling thorough flood mapping across Texas

SAN ANGELO, Texas – For the first time, the Texas Water Development Board has complete statewide lidar data, enabling them to better map the state. Mapping land and understanding topography is not a new science. According to Richard Wade, Deputy Executive Administrator for Texas Natural Resources Information System, the lidar data is a far more complex data set that makes is possible for them to map in different ways.

The lidar, or light detection and ranging, data is available to the public and can be found here. TWDB expects this wealth of data to aid in their understanding of flood plains and flood risk as they move forward with their wave of flood planning and response programs. “The lidar data or topographic data that we now have acquired statewide,” explained Saul Nuccitelli, Director of Flood Science for TWDB. “We’ve mapped the whole state of Texas in more detail than we’ve ever done before, this detail allows us to better understand things like flood risk. The terrain data is publicly available. We’re currently creating the new flood risk map data, and that’ll be available statewide by 2024 even in the most rural areas. So unlike previous mapping efforts we’re now going to blanket cover flood risk for the entire state.”

In 2019 the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 8, directing and expanding TWDB effort on flood planning and flood risk reduction in the state of Texas. The bill led to the creation of several regional flood planning groups, one of which is led by officials in San Angelo. To find out when your region has their next meeting, click here.

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