Stormwater and Drainage
There's a saying that "If you don't like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes and it will change." That's especially true during severe weather season when a simple storm can turn into a flash flood in a matter of minutes. Stormwater and groundwater have to go somewhere, which is why the City has an extensive drainage system that is designed to channel rainwater.
In the past four years, rainfall in Texas has been well above average amounts. With Southlake's properties near bodies of water such as Lake Grapevine, Big Bear Creek and Dove Creek, and the susceptibility to flash flooding in a short amount of time, you have a recipe for potential drainage issues on both public and private lands.
Water flows from individual properties, sometimes over land and sometimes beneath the ground in pipes, springs, and aquifers. It also flows to tributaries and creeks and if there is enough of it, the water runoff goes to the major collection points like Lake Grapevine or Big Bear Creek. When this happens, we see our water levels rise higher and flow swifter on and through our properties.
Homeowner & Private Property Responsibilities
With the increased rainfall and storm damage, complaints to Southlake Public Works staff about stormwater and excess groundwater have increased. What follows is section 0.02 of the Southlake City Ordinance no. 605 outlining the maintenance responsibilities of drainage ways and drainage facilities.
A. Natural Drainageways and Drainage Easements With No Structures. It shall be the responsibility of the owner to routinely maintain all creeks, streams and natural drainageways and all unimproved drainage easements on his property This shall include periodic removal of fallen trees limbs and underbrush periodic rough mowing removal of trash and debris and general upkeep to maintain a positive flow of stormwater within the drainageway or easement The responsibility of the landowner hereunder shall not include any maintenance which requires specialized or heavy equipment
B. Drainage Easements With Surface Structures. It shall be the responsibility of the city to maintain all surface structures within a drainage easement. The landowner shall maintain all portions of the drainage easement which are not improved in accordance with the requirements set forth in paragraph A above.
C. Bar Ditches and Culverts. Although these items are typically found in ROW dedicated to the City maintenance of these items shall be the responsibility of the individual landowner This shall include periodic removal of underbrush periodic rough mowing removal of trash and debris and general upkeep of the bar ditch or culvert to maintain a positive flow of stormwater within the bar ditch or culvert Maintenance shall also include periodic cleaning of culverts to remove all sediment or other hindrances to the flow of water Culverts shall be replaced by the owner should any structural failure in the culvert potentially impede the flow of water.
Homeowners are ultimately responsible for rainwater that collects on their property since state law prohibits cities from making improvements on private land. However, if you have questions regarding private-property drainage, "lot-to-lot" drainage issues in which property owners might be experiencing problems due to a neighboring property, or Southlake's floodplain, let us know.
What the City is doing...
To keep water moving through Southlake every year, City engineers are always considering how water will impact public lands. When the City engineers see a potential issue, they make recommendations to the Council to invest public dollars into proper drainage. Through the years those investments have helped re-distribute the stormwater as Southlake has grown into a mature city, but there is always more work to be done. Click on the City Improvement Projects icon to find out more about our drainage focused projects.
Street sweeping is a best management practice and helps our stormwater infrastructure by removing debris so it won't end up in our drainageways. Street sweeping also collects pollutants and prevents these pollutants from being carried into the stormwater system. Water from the stormwater system ultimately drains into creeks, rivers, and larger bodies of water. Some bodies of water serve as a source of drinking water for local communities.