The City of New Braunfels is dedicated to minimizing the loss of life and property that is associated with flooding events. Education and prevention are valuable and proven tools that help communities become resistant to these natural disasters. The City of New Braunfels recognizes that its entire community is susceptible to flooding, not just those structures located within Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA’s). The following information has been provided to help inform property owners located within the SFHA, flood prone areas and also all property owners within The City of New Braunfels.
- Natural & Beneficial Functions
- Flood Protection Assistance
- Drainage System Maintenance
- Important Websites
- 10 Texas Flood Facts
Natural & Beneficial Functions
The City of New Braunfels is a beautiful place to live. The undisturbed rivers and wetlands provide a wide range of benefits to the human and natural systems. They provide flood storage and conveyance, reduce flood velocities and flood peaks. Water quality is improved through the rivers and wetlands ability to filter nutrients and impurities from runoff and process organic wastes. The local rivers and wetlands provide breeding and feeding grounds for fish and wildlife, create and enhance waterfowl habitat, and protect habitats for rare and endangered species. The floodplains are an important asset. They provide open space, aesthetic pleasure, and areas for active and passive uses.
Flood Protection Assistance
Concerned citizens and the general public can obtain information on flood protection assistance from The City of New Braunfels’s Building Department (830) 221-4060 or the Department of Public Works by calling (830) 221-4020. Flood protection assistance provided by The City of New Braunfels is site-specific flood and flood related data on floodways, data on historical flooding with historical photographs on some properties, as well as info on properties that back up to a drainage easement that could potentially flood and similar information so inquirers can relate the flood threat to their problems.
List of services provided:
Drainage System Maintenance
It is illegal in The City of New Braunfels to dump any type of debris into a canal, stream, river or drainage ditch. This debris can become entangled in culverts and shallow streambeds, canals, or drainage ditches and impedes drainage causing the flow of water to back up. Citizens of New Braunfels should also keep drainage ditches on their property free of debris, foliage and vegetation that would impede the flow of water. Debris dumping should be reported to The City of New Braunfels’s Public Works Department (830) 221-4020 or the Building Department at City Hall by calling (830) 221-4060.
Ten Texas Flood Factoids
10. "Texas has the fewest numbers of state employees devoted to disaster preparedness of any of the most populous states," Tom Millwee, past head of Texas Department of Public Safety and Chair of Blue Ribbon Committee
The City of New Braunfels adopted floodplain maps which were effective January 5, 2006 and provided below. The city maps will be incorporated into the newly updated county maps for Guadalupe County, effective November 2, 2007, and will be incorporated into the Comal County maps once approved. The county maps will then become the current map within the city limits upon the effective date.
Scaled maps can be viewed at City Hall for identification of actual lots. Not all maps on the index are available. Provided below are .tif files. GIS files for adopted maps are available for Guadalupe County. Contact Planning at 830-221-4050 for information.
FEMA also has a program that allows you to view and select a flood map panel or area. The city's new maps may or may not be available through this system yet. Visit FEMA for more maps.
Comal and Guadalupe Counties
Comal County began their 90 day appeal period on September 13, 2007 and will end on December 13, 2007. At the end of the 90 day review period and after review of any submitted appeals, FEMA will send a final determination letter stating that base flood elevations are accepted. The maps will become effective within six months of end of appeal period, during which time ordinances are corrected and sent to FEMA for review.
Guadalupe County adopted their FEMA maps in September 2007, which will be effective November 2, 2007. Maps are available through the FEMA website, on this website below, and paper copies may be viewed at the City and Guadalupe County Department of Environmental Health.
Provided below are .tif files. GIS files for adopted maps will be available through the city's website or the appropriate county when complete.
|Comal County 48091 (draft)||Guadalupe County 48187 (final)||ETJ|
Since the new digital files are not yet available for Guadalupe County, draft floodplain maps for both counties may be found at the City's GIS site. The draft floodplain maps for Comal County may also be found on the County's GIS site. Contact the appropriate County engineer's office for information concerning floodplain permitting in the unincorporated areas:
New Braunfels is located in central Texas between San Antonio and Austin in a region popularly known as the Texas Hill Country. With the rapid growth of urban cities, such as Austin and San Antonio, many once small cities, such as New Braunfels, find they are experiencing more severe and frequent flooding problems along small creeks, streams, and other low areas. Urbanization leads to an increase in impervious cover, channel rectification that reduces channel storage, channel obstruction, and floodplain development.
The CH2M Hill study (2002), commissioned by New Braunfels and used by FEMA for the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs), showed that increased development along the North Guadalupe and South Guadalupe Tributaries led to an increase in runoff. Caran and Baker (1986) claimed that earlier work by W.H.K. Espey et al. (1966) demonstrated that land use practices alone could increase peak flood discharges in central Texas by as much as 300 percent. These types of urban developmental problems are nothing new to burgeoning cityscapes, but history has shown that there are unique ways to balance growing populations and preserve natural processes. As New Braunfels grows and urbanizes, it will have the opportunity to plan for both population growth and the preservation of natural processes.
The purchase of federal flood insurance is highly recommended. Basic homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover damage from floods. The City of New Braunfels participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which means that federally subsidized flood insurance is available to everyone in the city. Remember there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective. Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank or loan company when they obtained a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building’s structure and not the contents. During the kind of flooding that happens in The City of New Braunfels, there is usually more damage to furniture and the contents than there is to the structure. Remember that a flood insurance policy must be renewed each year.
Citizens of The City of New Braunfels can obtain flood information concerning flooding, flood maps, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements, flood insurance requirements and inquiries, and flood zone determinations from The City of New Braunfels’s Building Department located at City Hall, or by calling (830) 221-4060.
Elevation Certificates of all properties in the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA’s) are available and on file at the Office of Building and copies are available upon request.
Real time river gauge information can be obtained through the following websites:
Rather than wait for a flood to occur, you can act now to protect your property from flood damage. Various alternatives are available to help minimize flooding. If the floor level of your property or structure is lower than the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) located on the city’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), consider ways to prevent flooding from occurring such as retrofitting your building.
Retrofitting means altering your building to eliminate or reduce flood damage. Retrofitting measures include:
There are several good references on retrofitting in the New Braunfels Public Library. Many of these will inform you about retrofitting techniques and help you decide which is best for you.
Flood Warning System
If flooding is imminent and evacuation of the city is advised, The City of New Braunfels will notify you through the local radio station (KGNB/KNBT), Cable TV, and Reverse 911 (when appropriate). Additionally, the city will be receiving information from the National Weather Service Offices which broadcasts weather information 24 hours a day and from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Management in Texas. A local contact number will be established at the time of the flood event to call in reference to evacuation notices, procedures and shelters.
Mandatory Purchase Requirement
The mandatory purchase requirement applies to all forms of federal or federally related financial assistance for buildings located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). This requirement affects loans and grants for the purchase, construction, repair, or improvement of any publicly or privately owned buildings in the SFHA, including machinery, equipment, fixtures and furnishings contained in such buildings. If a building is located in a SFHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building. For more information about flood insurance contact:
Substantial Improvement Requirements
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement, must conform or meet the same construction requirements as a new building and be constructed 2 feet above the minimum Base Flood Elevation (BFE) listed on The City of New Braunfels’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).
Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a building or structure when the cost of restoring the building to its pre-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the building before the damage occurred. Substantial damage is determined regardless of the actual repair work performed.
The City of New Braunfels requires by ordinance that any substantial improvement or substantial damage improvement must have a building permit. Permit information can be obtained at the Building Department located at City Hall or by calling at (830) 221-4060.
Floodplain Development Permit Requirements
All development in The City of New Braunfels needs local and state permits. Contact The City of New Braunfels’s Building Department at (830) 221-4020 or (830) 221-4060 for advice before you build, fill, place a manufactured home or otherwise develop. The zoning ordinance, flood control ordinance and the International Building Codes have special provisions regulating construction and other developments within floodplains. Without these provisions, flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would not be available to property owners in The City of New Braunfels. Any development in the floodplain without a permit is illegal; such activity can be reported to the City of New Braunfels Building Department at (830) 221-4060.
Floodplain Development Forms
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the floodway?
The floodway is the channel, bayou, or other watercourse and adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than the height specified for the site in the flood insurance study.
Who determines the floodway?
Engineers working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are charged with determination of the regulatory floodway in accordance with FEMA guidelines.
Will the Floodway ever be reduced?
The ultimate goal of floodplain management in New Braunfels will be to have all floodways limited to the bayou right-of-way. To accomplish this in some watersheds will require the future construction of major channel improvements or reduction in flows from regional stormwater detention facilities.
Can I build on my vacant land in the floodway?
Per Chapter 58 of the City Code of Ordinances, new construction on vacant land in the floodway will be permitted if the performance standards for the construction are met.
Can I repair or rebuild my home in the floodway?
Yes, permits for repairs or reconstruction for buildings in the floodway will be issued if the performance standards are met. Repairs over 50% of the market value will trigger substantial improvement requirements.
Can I request a variance in the floodway?
Variances may be issued by a community for new construction and substantial improvements and for other development necessary for the conduct of a functionally dependent use provided that:
For fees and more information, contact the City of New Braunfels Building Department (NBBD) at (830) 221-4060