State bill aims to help flood prone areas

Senator Richard Briggs Co-sponsored the bill to create a task force to address flooding issues.
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 3:57 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2022 at 11:55 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A bill introduced in the state legislature is aimed to reduce the number of areas that flood when we get too much rain. It comes as flooding this week had people across East Tennessee seeking higher ground and looking for ways to stop it.

The state climatology office has recorded several floods with record rainfall in recent years.

“I think we can agree that we need to improve our flood resilience efforts and that it has benefits to everyone. I really think it’s a win win to to kind of focus on these types of things across the state,” said Andrew Joyner, with ETSU and the Tennessee State Climate office.

Floods cost Tennessee on average $243 million every year and Senator Richard Briggs has co-filed legislation aimed at improving the flooding situation. He wants a task force to look at where flooding happens and what caused it to happen in the first place.

“Not only the large counties, but also the small counties identify where they may have problems and then make proposals to help them mitigate those problems when we do have too much rain,” said Briggs. “I think it will be able to get this through, because we’ve done it with wildfire task force, and we’ll be able to do it with flooding. This really affects every Tennessee county we have a lot of water in this state.”

He says initially it’ll cost around $250,000 to get started. He said depending on what the task force finds, could lead more investments.

Joyner sees the economic benefit when people aren’t shelling out thousands of dollars to repair buildings.

“It saves money, but they also creates long term returns on investment. And so I’ll use Johnson City as an example again, you know, because of what the money they invested in downtown mitigation efforts the year is a completely different downtown. You’d be shocked,” said Joyner.

The bill proposes to establish the Tennessee Flood Resilience and Community Preparedness Task Force and create the Flood Resilience Reserve Fund. Under this bill, the task force would create a state-wide flood resiliency plan to help our most vulnerable communities be better prepared for the next big flood.

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