Technology in Belton designed to save lives during flood

by / 0 Comments / 38 View / October 18, 2013

The City of Belton was presented the 2013 Municipal Excellence Award in Public Safety (cities less than 25,000 population) by the Texas Municipal League (TML) on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, for the Nolan Creek Early Flood Warning System, a network of five monitoring stations that measure stream depth and rainfall totals along the waterway.
The System was developed in response to a September 2010 rain event that caused the water level in Nolan Creek to dramatically rise, flooding downtown businesses located on Central Avenue and leading to swift water rescues in neighborhoods adjacent to the creek.
In the months following the storm, Belton gathered 18 stakeholders together to assess the Nolan Creek Watershed. It was ultimately determined that all 13 dams in the watershed were in proper working order, and upgrades or additions to the network of dams were not feasible due to high costs and low impact.
In April 2012, Belton made the first investment in an early warning system when it placed a monitoring station on Nolan Creek about six miles upstream from the City. Within a year, Killeen and Harker Heights became partners in the system when each agreed to purchase additional stations (the Killeen station has not yet been installed due to bridge construction in the area). Belton purchased two more, placing one near Wheat Road and the other on Penelope Street Bridge. The entire system cost about $35,000.
The result is a robust creek monitoring system that provides real-time data on rainfall and stream elevation. The system has already led to proposed adjustments in Belton’s emergency notification procedures. In the future, it is anticipated that the system will help save lives and property.
Members of the Belton City Council and staff accepted the award on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at the annual TML conference in Austin.
Each year TML recognizes 10 cities (five with populations under 25,000 and five with populations over 25,000) with awards for excellence in the categories of Management Innovations, Communication Programs, City Spirit, Public Safety, and Public Works. TML is a voluntary association of more than 1,130 Texas cities, more than 1,000 of which share Belton’s classification of a population below 25,000.