Protection from Future Floods: River Authority Dam Management

The River Authority
Sep 08, 2020

Walker Ranch Dam, Bexar County.

The history of flooding in our area has demonstrated the need to provide protection from future flooding events. As part of our commitment to safe, clean, and enjoyable creeks and rivers, the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) employs a comprehensive approach to flood mitigation. Part of this approach includes the ongoing maintenance of flood retention dams throughout the San Antonio River Basin.

Many of these dams sit on properties that also serve as nature-based parks and the significant benefits provided by the dams for enhancing flood safety and protection are sometimes understated. Want to learn more about where these dams are and how they work? Follow along as we share more!

How many dams does the River Authority maintain in the San Antonio River Basin?

San Antonio River Authority Flood Water Retention Dams

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The River Authority operates and maintains a total of 41 flood water retention dams throughout the San Antonio River Basin. There are 28 dams in Bexar County and the upper reaches of the Salado Creek has the largest system with 14 dams. The remaining 13 dams are in Karnes County.

Since the early 1950s, the River Authority has partnered with county, special districts, and federal entities for the development of these dams with most built in the 1960s and 1970s. These dams mitigate flooding in populated areas and are designed to withstand up to 44 inches of rain over a 24-hour period. In 2003, the McAllister Park Dam on the Salado Creek in Bexar County was the final dam completed.

How does the River Authority address flood risk mitigation?

Picture of Scientists working with maps and data to mitigate flooding.

In the River Authority’s model for flood risk management, protection refers to man-made structures that are designed to re-direct and manage the flow of water, diverting it from inundating neighborhoods where people and property are dense. The River Authority has a team of experts to properly maintain these dams on a routine basis.

Working together with other government organizations is a crucial component of effective flood risk management. By harnessing shared information, knowledge, and resources, communities can plan more effectively and efficiently.

How do I learn more about flooding and flood mitigation?