Keeping San Antonio S.A.F.E.

Keeping San Antonio S.A.F.E.

Published December 2009

In 2004 HSE was awarded a contract by the City of San Antonio to provide equipment and software that would allow the integration of their High Water Detection System (HWDS)/Low Water Crossing that warns motorists of flooded roadways with the Early Flood Warning System (EFWS) network of ALERT rain and stream gauges. Both systems had been installed in the 1980's and had fallen into disrepair during the 1990's following a period of drought. Interest in the low water crossing system was dramatically restarted by catastrophic flooding in October of 1998.n>

Equipment was supplied to reactivate the system's nineteen Low Water Crossing Master Gauging Stations and fifty-four Advance Warning Sites. Equipment was also supplied to refurbish ten ALERT EFWS gauge sites. Software was installed to collect, process, and display data at four Storm Water Operations facilities.

Following the successful revitalization and integration of the two systems, a bond measure was passed to expand the number of low water crossing sites and to refurbish the remaining fifty-four ALERT EFWS sites. HSE is currently in the middle of completing this low water crossing system expansion. Installation is complete on all thirteen new low water crossing sites with a total of thirty-six advance warning sites.

The next phase of the project will see the data collection portion of the low water crossing system enhanced. In addition to the four real-time data collection sites located at the Storm Water Operation facility, the City's IT Department will collect data directly at two of its data centers. These data centers will host a public website and serve as secure, redundant back-up for the Storm Water operational computers. All computers will be connected via the City's Ethernet LAN and updates to one of the Storm Water Operations' computers will automatically be replicated on other committed computers.

By the spring of 2010, HSE will have also completed the rehabilitation of fifty-four ALERT gauge sites with the installation of new transmitters and other sensors and equipment as necessary.

This monitoring and warning low water crossing network is part of a public education and flood preparedness program called S.A.F.E. (San Antonio Flood Emergency System). The mission of S.A.F.E. is to provide early flood notification during heavy rain events and educate the public on actions necessary to protect life and property.

In addition to the low water crossing sites alerting motorists when a road is unsafe, a network of S.A.F.E. routes has been established at key low water crossing locations throughout the City of San Antonio so that citizens can easily find alternate routes away from flooded roads. Maps are available online for people to print out and have in their vehicles, and signs are being installed at low water crossings that direct motorists around flooded roadways.

More information about this innovative program can be found at


Other application Articles: Articles