Fort Worth has a long history of flooding. Major floods in 1908, 1922, 1942 and 1949 devastated our city. The flood of 1949 is arguably the most recognizable of these events because most of the flooding occurred in what is today known as the West 7th District/Cultural District.
Neighborhoods surrounding downtown were flooded by more than 10 feet of water. Thousands were left homeless, 10 people died and property damages reached $15 million.
This flood brought in the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) who added improvements to the already existing levee system as well as straightened the Clear Fork and West Fork of the river, removing the natural meander of the river in favor of a channel system. This system has done a fantastic job of keeping our community safe. However, the current levee system was built when the population of Fort Worth was roughly 350,000 residents. Today, the population of Fort Worth has nearly reached 900,000 residents and because of the booming population growth, USACE indicated that 86% of the current levee system is less than the current design level of protection. Meaning, if Fort Worth saw a flood similar to that of the devastation of 1949 over 2,400 acres in neighborhoods in our city could be flooded.
The current federal flood protection project, the Central City Project, was designed to provide the necessary flood protection in Fort Worth for the neighborhoods highlighted above. These areas include, but are not limited to, the Panther Island District and West 7th/ Cultural District. The local sponsor, Tarrant Regional Water District, utilized the area identified by USACE that would flood without implementation of the project and then applied property value as provided by the Tarrant Appraisal District, the local taxing entity. This results in a damage value of roughly $2,362,997,812 in the highlighted area above.