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Floodplain Development

The following are requirements for floodplain development: 

  • A development permit for any work performed in a designated flood-hazard boundary area.  
  • Visit the county floodplain manager before and during the planning stages for any project located within the designated flood hazard boundaries.
  • Pre-pour and finished construction inspections to ensure the project meets federal, state, and local laws.
  • A site plan, which details all proposed development, and a pre-construction elevation certificate must accompany the submitted application.

Burnet County FEMA FIRMs Flood Maps 03152012

Flood Damage Prevention Order

LCRA Hydromet link

Lampasas River - Real-time River Gauge 

If the Lampasas River reaches 33 feet this is a Major Flood Stage26 feet is Moderate Flood Stage
18 feet is Flood Stage16 feet is Action Stage

The County of Burnet is dedicated to minimizing the loss of life and property that is associated with flooding events, and providing residents with a safe environment to live, work, and play. Education and prevention are valuable and proven tools that help communities become resistant to natural disasters. Since you own property in a floodplain or live in a floodplain or flood risk area, you are at an increased risk of flooding. Now is the perfect time to make sure you are knowledgeable on how to protect yourself and your property for the next major storm.

A floodplain is the normally dry area, usually low land adjacent to a watercourse that is inundated on a periodic basis with flood waters. Floodplains are natural features that serve to detain the storm water from invading urbanized areas due to overwhelmed drainage systems. The flood zones within Burnet County primarily trail along the Colorado River and creeks. Burnet County, located in the Texas Hill Country, is bordered by Lampasas, Bell, Williamson, Travis, Blanco, Llano, and San Saba counties. The county, situated on the northeastern edge of the Hill Country comprises roughly 1,000 square miles of gentle to broken hills with elevations ranging from 700 to 1,700 feet above sea level. The terrain in the northwestern, western, and southern parts of the county is characterized by rolling hills with local deep and dense dissections; fertile plateaus and valleys are found in the eastern section, and rolling prairies dominate the north and northeast. The land is drained by the Colorado River, which forms most of the western county line before meandering across the southern part of the county; by the San Gabriel River, which rises in three forks in the northern and central parts of the county; and by the Lampasas River, which cuts across the northeastern corner.  The Llano River merges with the Colorado River in the southern portion of the County. A network of flood control dams has been built along this watershed creating a chain of five lakes in the county. The LCRA built two more dams on the Colorado in Burnet County in the late 1940s and early 1950s: Alvin J. Wirtz Dam, which impounded Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, and Max Starke Dam, on Lake Marble Falls.
The County traversed by U.S. Highways 29, 71, 183 and 281. Activities that attract tourists to Burnet County include hunting, fishing, water sports, Buchanan Lake, Longhorn Caverns and Inks Lake State Park.
Water quality is improved through the filtering of nutrients and impurities from runoff. Floodplains also provide conveyance which reduces flood velocities and flood peaks. They provide open space and areas for active and passive uses. One unique feature about Burnet County is 1,000 square miles of beautiful lakes and rolling hills.

Burnet County is located in Texas Hill County of Central Texas. The main water source is the Highland Lakes watershed. The county is susceptible to riverine flooding, as well as urban flooding such as low lying areas and street flooding and flash flooding.
In recent years, two major events have affected Burnet County:  Marble Falls flood in 2007 18 inches of rain in a matter of hours, flash floods destroyed homes and businesses, turning streets into rivers, the Lampasas River flood crested at 45.00 ft on 09/01/1973. Real time river gauge information can be obtained through the following websites: and

The Emergency Notification System (ENS) is an automated emergency notification tool which enables authorized public safety personnel in the CAPCOG region to notify citizens only in an emergency situation where property or human life is in jeopardy. The public may register their cellular telephone number through a web-based application by following the instructions provided at  You may contact the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division at (512) 916-6035.
The Floodgate Operations Notification System (FONS) offered from LCRA will email and/or call subscribers with a recorded message to alert them that floodgate operations are expected to begin or have begun. The public may register through a web-based application by following the instructions provide at


Basic homeowner's insurance does not cover damage from floods. The County of Burnet participates in the National Flood Insurance Program which means that federally subsidized flood insurance is available to everyone in the county, regardless of location and past damage. Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank or loan company when they obtained a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building's structure and not the contents; however, you may purchase both contents and building coverage. Remember there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective, and that the policy must be renewed annually.

All development in the Burnet County floodplain requires a permit per the Burnet County order. Development includes, but is not limited to, all new construction, filling, grading, and paving. Substantially damaged or improved structures, where the cost of repair (regardless of the cause of damage) or improvements to a structure equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value, also require building permits and elevation certificates, and are held to the same standards as new construction.

One basic standard Burnet County adheres to in its floodplain order is the requirement of all new construction and substantially improved structures to be built at a 1 foot freeboard and  recommend building in an A zone to a 2 foot freeboard. This higher standard provides added protection to structures, but does not eliminate the flooding threat. Contact the Burnet County Development Services Department for advice before you construct or place anything in the floodplain to ensure that the proper regulations are followed. Without these provisions, subsidized flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program would not be available to property owners in Burnet County. Any  development in the floodplain without a permit is illegal, and such activity should be reported to the Burnet County Development Services Department located at 133 East Jackson St, Room 107 in the Annex building on the square. 

Rather than wait for a flood to occur, you can act now to protect your property from flood damage. Even if you never flooded before, in the life of a 30-year mortgage, there is a 26% chance of experiencing a flood if a property is located in the floodplain. Various retrofitting techniques are available to help minimize flooding such as elevating the building, constructing barrier out of fill or concrete, and floodproofing to make the building watertight. Because of Burnet County's susceptibility to flash flooding, measures that protect against such storms or compliance structures being built in a floodplain.

The Burnet County Development Services Department provides homeowners with information on how to select a qualified contractor and what recourse they have if they are dissatisfied with the contractors' performance. There are several publications on retrofitting at the Burnet County Public Library, that can help you decide which technique is best for you and your property.

Citizens can obtain information on flood protection assistance from the Burnet County Development Service Department by calling (512) 715-5260. Flood protection provided by the Burnet County Development Services Department includes site-specific flood and flood related data, data on historical flooding in neighborhoods, and sources for financial assistance.

The State of Texas administers several mitigation grants that may help property owners protect their floodprone structures. The funds could be used for acquisition, elevation, retrofitting, or other forms of property protection. More information can be obtained by visiting the Burnet County website at

It is illegal in Burnet County to dump any type of debris into a stream or drainage ditch. Debris can become entangled in culverts and streambeds, and impede drainage causing the flow of water to back up. Citizens should do their part to keep ditches free of debris, and to discourage grass clippings, oil, and other contaminants from getting in storm sewer inlets. Debris dumping should be reported to the Environmental Officer at the Burnet County Sheriff's Office at 512-756-8080.

Citizens can obtain flood information such as flood zone determinations, copies of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), Flood Insurance Studies (FIS), letters of map changes, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements, floodplain development regulations, Standard Operating Procedures, and from the Burnet County Development Services Department. Elevation certificates of structures built in the floodplain are also available and on file at the Burnet County Development Services Department. Copies are available upon request.

  • Learn the safest route from your property to higher, safer ground, but stay tuned to reports of changing flood conditions.
  • If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter, hotel, or relative's house.
  • Turn off all utilities, gas and electricity at the main switch. Stay away from power lines and electrical lines.
  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood related deaths. Currents can be deceptive, and six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. The majority of vehicle-related deaths are caused by drivers trying to cross flooded streets.

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