Floodplain Management


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.

  1. Natural & Beneficial Functions
  2. Flood Protection Assistance
  3. Drainage System Maintenance
  4. Important Websites
  5. 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.


  1. City of New Braunfels
  2. Comal & Guadalupe Counties

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.

Learn More

  1. Flood Hazard
  2. Flood Safety
  3. Flood Insurance
  4. Flood Info
  5. Property Protection
  6. Warning System

Flood Hazard

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.


  1. Mandatory Purchase
  2. Substantial Improvement/Damage
  3. Floodplain Development

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:

  • Your insurance agent
  • The National Flood Insurance Program
  • The New Braunfels Public Library
  • The New Braunfels Building Department

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Floodway FAQ's
  2. Substantial Improvements FAQ's

Floodway FAQ's

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:

  • The criteria outlined in Sec. 58-29.4. (1) – (9) are met, and
  • The structure or other development is protected by methods that minimize flood damages during the base flood and create no additional threats to public safety.

For fees and more information, contact the City of New Braunfels Building Department (NBBD) at (830) 221-4060