In its May 6 board meeting tomorrow, the Texas Water Development Board will vote on whether to approve financial assistance from the Texas Flood Infrastructure Fund to widen and deepen Taylor Gully. That would increase the “level of service” from 10 to 100 years.
The channel would then be able to handle a 100-year rain without flooding instead of just a 10-year rain as it does now. And that would benefit more than 400 homes.
To put a ten-year rainfall into perspective, the eight inches received in two days last week by areas northwest of Lake Houston qualified as a ten-year year event. Luckily, the rain that fell over the Taylor Gully watershed only qualified as a 1- to 2-year rain.
Taylor Gully is the channel below Woodridge Village that experienced disastrous flooding twice in 2019 on May 7th and September 19th (during Imelda).
Explanation of Partnerships and Financing
The City of Houston has requested a $10.1 million loan for construction of the Taylor Gully project. The financial assistance that the TWDB will vote on would take the form of a purchase of City of Houston bonds.
Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) would lead the project all the way through construction. The Flood Control District (and hopefully, federal money) will provide the balance of project funds up to $20.2 million out of Bond Project ID F-14 and a Community Project Funding request by US Congressman Dan Crenshaw.
The project will require a considerable amount of upfront work that includes engineering, design, surveying, geotechnical work, environmental permitting and more. The project won’t be ready for actual construction for at least a year. And the City cannot tap into a construction loan until construction starts.
Therefore, the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) will use County money to cover those upfront costs, according to Alan Black, Director of Operations for HCFCD. Some land acquisition may also be necessary, though that has not been fully investigated yet.
Congressman Dan Crenshaw has requested federal dollars to help supplement HCFCD funds for the Taylor Gully and Kingwood Diversion Ditch improvements identified in the Kingwood Area Drainage Analysis. Federal dollars could help stretch local dollars to help develop more projects. (See below about Cypress Creek projects.)
Crucial TWDB to Vote Tomorrow
But everything hinges on the City’s application for a loan from the Texas Flood Infrastructure fund. The City’s request will be #6 on the TWDB meeting agenda. Here is the packet for the board that explains the proposal. It includes cost breakdowns and a timetable, which will likely be accelerated according to project insiders.
The Taylor Gully watershed currently has a 10-year level of service because the area upstream has undergone significant development with limited flood mitigation or detention.
The proposed project includes improvements along the Taylor Gully channel to upgrade the conveyance capacity to provide a 100-year level of service. The improvements include channel widening, deepening, and lining. The project will benefit more than 400 structures. 387 will see direct benefit during 100-year inundations. An additional 62 structures benefit indirectly.
How to Attend the TWDB Meeting
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) meeting to consider approving financial assistance for Flood Infrastructure Fund projects will be held on Thursday, May 6, at 9:30 a.m. There are two ways that the public and interested stakeholders may attend the Board meeting:
A recording of the meeting will also be available.
If you wish to address the Board, please fill out the visitor registration form and send it to Cheryl.Arredondo@twdb.texas.gov no later than 8:00 a.m. on May 6. For more information, please visit the TWDB’s website.
This link explains how the TWDB closing process works on loans.
State Senator Brandon Creighton sponsored the bill that created the state’s Flood Infrastructure Fund in the 2019 legislature. This link tracks expenditures from the Flood Infrastructure Fund. To date, the TWDB has committed almost $200 million from the fund.
The TWDB has recognized the importance of the project. The City of Houston is putting up the lion’s share of the money for the project. HCFCD is fronting the upfront costs and half of construction dollars. And Congressman Dan Crenshaw is helping to stretch local dollars by supplementing them with federal funds.
HCFCD, Crenshaw Also Working on Cypress Creek Improvements
Crenshaw’s funding request would also help fund the Westador and TC Jester Detention Basins on Cypress Creek. Those are two large basins being planned by HCFCD. Together they would hold about 1,600 acre-feet of stormwater.
To put that in perspective, 1,600 acre feet is enough to contain a foot of rain falling over 2.4 square miles. That could provide benefits both upstream and down. More news to follow on those projects.
Posted by Bob Rehak on May 5, 2021
1345 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 594 since Imelda