The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) recently approved the award of more than $1.4 million in grant funding from the state’s Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) to the San Jacinto River Authority for four flood mitigation projects. Hundreds of abridged applications were submitted by various entities across the State of Texas as part of this competitive process, and SJRA is honored to have had four projects approved by TWDB.
SJRA has established partnerships with multiple entities for the local match funding required by the grants, including City of Houston, City of Humble, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), and five Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs). Additionally, SJRA will contribute project and grant management services and other support efforts to the studies.
Of the four projects, three are large-scale efforts which are very costly, and having no dedicated funding source for flood mitigation projects, SJRA is extremely appreciative of the Texas Water Development Board and the regional partners who have stepped up to help fund these efforts to provide flood mitigation within the San Jacinto River Basin. Any proposed large-scale flood mitigation projects that may ultimately result from these efforts will require additional federal, state, and/or local funding sources.
The Upper San Jacinto River Basin Regional Sedimentation Study will identify and create a plan for implementing potential sedimentation solutions in the Upper San Jacinto River Basin (Lake Houston watershed) by evaluating the input, output, and storage of sediment for the entire basin, as well as for sub-watersheds within the basin.
The Spring Creek Watershed Flood Control Dams Conceptual Engineering Feasibility Study will perform a conceptual engineering feasibility study of two potential dam/reservoir locations within the Spring Creek watershed. This project is proposed as a continuation or next phase of the Spring Creek Siting Study, a sub-task to the San Jacinto Regional Watershed Master Drainage Plan project performed by the HCFCD and supported by SJRA and other regional partners.
The Lake Conroe – Lake Houston Joint Reservoir Operations Study will develop a joint reservoir operations and communications strategy for Lake Conroe and Lake Houston. The City of Houston is currently in the preliminary design phase of a project to add new gates at the Lake Houston dam which could greatly increase the controlled release capacity of the dam. The main goal of the plan is to determine the most efficient and safe operation of the two reservoirs in series by evaluating multiple individual components of operational strategy. The project will include evaluation of the operational synergy between the two reservoirs, joint notification and communications protocols, pre-release, impacts on water supply, and the use of forecasting tools. This project is beneficial to both water supply and flood mitigation in the region.
The Flood Early Warning System for San Jacinto County project will install three new rain and stream gages in San Jacinto County at locations identified by the county based on previous flood events. These proposed gages will provide early warning notification to residents, businesses, property owners, etc. downstream of the gage locations, as well as county emergency personnel and responders, thus protecting life and allowing protection of property which can be moved to a safe location with adequate warning.
The Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) program was made possible by Senate Bill 7 sponsored by Senator Brandon Creighton. Passed by the Legislature and approved by Texas voters through a constitutional amendment, the FIF program provides financial assistance in the form of loans and grants for flood control, flood mitigation, and drainage projects. In the two-stage process, SJRA first submitted an abridged application for each project. TWDB then ranked the projects and prioritized them within the overall available funding capacity and invited applicants of selected projects to submit full applications.