Flood control system works to keep us safe during heavy rainfall

    Flood control system (SBG Photo)

    SAN ANTONIO---Flooding - it's our number one weather danger here in San Antonio and South Texas, but there is an elaborate system in place to try to keep us safe.

    It's an integrated system that allows the city to not only control the drainage waters from Olmos Dam to Downtown, but also alerts us to flood dangers in our own neighborhoods.

    The city of San Antonio, Bexar County and the River Authority have developed a unique control system that allows them to control the flow of the Olmos Dam through - or actually underneath - downtown, which becomes critical during flooding.

    "The sensors are monitoring the water, so we know exactly how much is coming into the tunnel inlet," explains Nefi Garza, Assistant Director for TCI.

    And all the sensors trigger texts and emails to staff, so they get alerted and can react quickly and let the public know as well. Kind of reminds me of the way TxDot monitors traffic.

    "Very much so. If you're familiar with Transguide, so this is very much like that and these guys have the ability to monitor that," exclaims Garza.

    Another feature is a network of almost 180 flood sensors throughout Bexar County that monitor the water flow from the dam -- all in real-time.

    "We have an internal monitoring system that we manage here at the city of San Antonio that includes information that comes directly to us from multiple sensors that we have out there. Multiple sensors - I’m talking about sensors that are on the roads, sensors in our creeks," says Garza.

    At that point workers can go out and put up the barriers if necessary.

    "It turns on automatically. I'm not waiting for someone to call me and tell me it's flooding, so that's a great thing," said Garza.

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