Last month, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved a $2,208,906 grant from the State’s Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) to the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) for expansion of the Lauder Stormwater Detention Basin.
The detention basin will eventually hold 1,260 acre-feet of stormwater in Aldine along Greens Bayou. The project will help reduce repetitive flooding in that area. It is one of dozens of such projects under construction in the watershed.
The 86th Texas Legislature created the Flood Infrastructure Fund with voter approval through a constitutional amendment in 2019. The fund helps develop drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects. State Senator Brandon Creighton sponsored the bill that created the fund.
About Phase 2 of Lauder Project
This particular TWDB grant will help enable Phase 2 of the Lauder Stormwater Detention Basin project (Bond ID C-34).
“We are extremely thankful for this funding and for the support of the Texas Water Development Board to improve flood resilience for residents in the Greens Bayou Watershed,” said Tina Petersen, Harris County Flood Control District Executive Director.
HCFCD finished Phase 1 of the Lauder Stormwater Detention Basin project in the fall of 2021. Phase 2 will provide additional stormwater detention in the former Castlewood development. Homes built there have been bought out.
HCFCD estimates the total cost of Phase 2 will be approximately $20.5 million. The additional capacity in Phase 2 will hold excess stormwater during heavy rain events and then release it slowly back to the channel when the threat of flooding has passed.
Phase 2 will be broken into two compartments.
- Compartment 1 will bid later this month. Construction will start later this year and finish in 2024.
- Compartment 2 (which TWDB is funding) is currently will be in design until 2023. Construction will begin in April 2024 and complete in early 2025.
Photos of Areas Involved
Phase 1 included a wet-bottom stormwater detention basin, with a permanent pool and features designed to improve stormwater quality.
Phase 2 will be a dry-bottom stormwater detention basin with opportunities for recreational development by other entities. It will be in the wooded area (top center) of the photo below.
Garcia Lauds Lauder Progress
“Reducing chronic flooding has been my main priority since taking office. This Lauder Stormwater Detention Basin project represents the kind of progress residents expect and need to see, and we are grateful for the Texas Water Development Board’s support in making this critical project possible,” said Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia.
“Making Harris County businesses and homeowners safer from flood events requires a commitment to make smart investments, like the TWDB’s. If we want to see our community thrive, we have to ensure families and companies can confidently grow in areas where their businesses and homes are free from flood fears,” he continued.
Relief from Repetitive Flooding
TWDB Chairwoman Brooke Paup said, “We’re proud to provide grant funding for this much-needed project, which has been a team effort, and to partner with our good friends at the Harris County Flood Control District. The TWDB works diligently to help communities across the state, but it’s especially fulfilling to be a partner in helping an area see some relief after experiencing repetitive flooding.”
Absorbs a Foot of Rain Falling Over 2 Square Miles
The two basin phases will hold at least 1,260 acre-feet, or 391 million gallons, of excess stormwater that might otherwise flood homes and businesses.
To visualize an acre foot, think of a football field with a foot of water on it. Now imagine that water extending upwards 1260 feet!
Another way to think about that is to visualize water spreading out horizontally. 1260 acre feet would would be a little less than two square miles. (A square mile comprises 640 acres.) So the two basins would hold a foot of rain falling over two square miles!
Looking at the Atlas 14 Rainfall Probability table below, the two phases would hold a 24-hour, 25-year rain falling over 2 square miles.
Flood-Risk Reduction Status
But the service area for the basins is bigger than 2 square miles. So the ponds won’t be enough by themselves to provide protection in a 25-year flood. That’s when other Greens Bayou projects will help. Together, the projects in the Greens Bayou Mid-Reach Program, when all are complete, should protect residents in a ten-year rain. See 10-year column in table above.
The two phases of the Lauder basin by themselves should reduce the risk of flooding for more than 4,500 structures in the 100-year floodplain. Learn more about the Lauder Basin at www.hcfcd.org/C34.
Overall, the flood bond allocated $280 million for Greens Bayou improvements. So far, HCFCD has spent $104 million in bond funds on those projects. So 63% the planned budget remains.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/10/22
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