As a regional entity, the San Antonio River Authority (SARA), advocates a regional approach to flood control issues. Flooding knows no boundaries; what occurs upstream in Bexar County impacts communities downstream. SARA works with leaders in Bexar, Wilson, Karnes and Goliad counties to address flooding on a regional basis. SARA is developing hydrologic and hydraulic models to update flood plain maps throughout the Basin to improve flood warning systems, and to help identify and prioritize the most beneficial capital projects to address flooding issues.
Flooding has plagued the San Antonio River Basin for generations. As recent as 2015, this region has experienced major flooding. Its effects, flooding in the Upper San Antonio River watershed, are typically felt throughout Bexar, Wilson, Karnes and Goliad counties. Since its creation in 1937, the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) has been a leader among government agencies developing flood control solutions within the basin.
Following a devastating flood in 1946, SARA began working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), to develop strategies that address flooding in and along the San Antonio River and its tributaries.
San Antonio Channel Improvements Project
In 1954, the U.S. Congress authorized the COE to construct the San Antonio Channel Improvements Project (SACIP). SARA continues to serve as the local sponsor with the COE on projects throughout the Basin. SARA formed important partnerships with local governments, including the Escondido Watershed District in Karnes County, Bexar County and the City of San Antonio, to implement significant flood control projects.
Through the SACIP, SARA has worked with the COE on major realignment and channelization to 31 miles of the San Antonio River and its tributaries, which continue to provide invaluable flood protection. Two underground tunnels, one at the San Antonio River and the other at San Pedro Creek, also divert floodwaters from San Antonio’s central government and business districts. These improvements serve as the backbone for our community’s floodwater conveyance system and protected San Antonio from significant loss of life and property damage in the October 1998 flood.
Recent efforts have transformed and enhanced the flood carrying capacity of the River by applying modern, environmentally sensitive and aesthetic construction methods. The partnership among SARA, the City of San Antonio, Bexar County and the COE, wanted to facilitate a steady flow of water downstream, while constructing recreational amenities and improvements from Brackenridge Park, south to Mission Espada. A 22-member citizen committee was appointed by the partnership in 1998 to guide the planning and implementation of this major community project. This project, known as the San Antonio River Improvements Project, was completed in October of 2013. Throughout its development and construction, SARA served as project manager and administrator for the COE, Bexar County and the City of San Antonio partnership. For more information regarding the San Antonio River Improvements Project, SARA welcomes you to visit http://www.sanantonioriver.org/.