As the state legislature takes up what to do about Colony Ridge, Harris County Commissioner Tom Ramsey, PE, brought the issue up in the 10/10/23 session of Commissioners Court.
Ramsey Leads Off Discussion with Photos of Dramatic Erosion, Impacts
- Dredging costs
- Water quality
- Water volume in Lake Houston
- Costs of supplementing Lake Houston’s water supply via the Luce Bayou Inter-Basin Transfer Project
- Costs of building a new purification plant to remove sediment and pollution from the water.
Ramsey also reminded everyone that Lake Houston supplies drinking water to roughly 2.2 million people, about half the population of Harris County.
Next, Ramsey introduced a motion to determine how much a study would cost to learn how Colony Ridge drainage has impacted Harris County. Ramsey, an engineer by trade, limited his remarks to drainage and infrastructure issues, even though the state legislature is examining a much broader range of issues.
Commissioners and HCFCD Director React to Ramsey
Ramsey asked Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) to come back to the next Commissioners Court meeting with an outline and cost for a study that would determine the downstream impacts from Colony Ridge.
Dr. Tina Petersen, HCFCD executive director, said they hadn’t studied Colony Ridge but would do everything she could to come back to the next Commissioners Court meeting with a proposal for a study.
Then the scope of the task started expanding. Other commissioners, including Rodney Ellis, pointed out that Liberty County wasn’t the only upstream county impacting Harris County.
Commissioner Adrian Garcia asked whether Director Petersen could expand the scope to consider impacts from other counties. But Petersen said that would be impossible by the next meeting.
Because other upstream areas have similar issues, commissioners felt a regional approach might make more sense and funding might be available from the Texas Water Development Board to study the problem.
So, Commissioner Ellis suggested having Intergovernmental Affairs look into what other counties, including Liberty, are doing.
Judge Hidalgo called the other Colony Ridge issues being investigated by the legislature and Attorney General Ken Paxton “conspiracy theories.”
No Action Taken in Meeting, but Unanimous Agreement to Revisit Issue
In the end, the Commissioners voted to take “no action” on Ramsey’s motion in yesterday’s meeting. However, they also agreed to reconsider it at a future date when Commissioners have more information about the scope and costs of a study.
In the meantime, I’m not sure how much cooperation Harris County will get from upstream counties. In my opinion, other counties sometimes see lax enforcement of regulations as tools to attract development.
See the entire discussion. It lasted about 18.5 minutes from 5:04:25 to 5:23, and ended with unanimous agreement to revisit the issue at an unspecified future date.
If nothing else, this raises the profile of Colony Ridge issues in the state legislature. The bi-partisan nature of the meeting’s outcome and the focus on infrastructure issues may make Colony Ridge’s charges of racism much more difficult for the legislature to ignore.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/11/2023
2234 Days since Hurricane Harvey
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