Almost from the day voters passed the historic $2.5 billion Harris County 2018 Flood Bond Referendum, people started arguing over whose projects should be developed first.
This led to a debate about equity and passage of an equity prioritization framework that favors low-to-moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods.
Activist groups in watersheds that have received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding now claim they have received none and blame it on racism and white supremacy. One group has even demanded the cancellation of projects in affluent watersheds so that even more money can be diverted to theirs in the name of “equity.”
Links below and to the right lead to articles about funding.
This 37-page report is the first in a series of monthly reports from HCFCD on flood-bond spending to date. It goes through August 2021.
The information below was provided by Harris County in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request.
This spreadsheet contains spending data on capital improvement projects (not normal maintenance) by watershed as of the end of the first quarter of 2021. It is broken down as follows:
- Since 2000
- Since Harvey
- 1/1/2000 to 12/31/2009
- 1/1/2010 to 12/31/2019
It also includes breakdowns for items such as design, right-of-way acquisition, buyouts, and construction.
Finally, I also requested additional data about each watershed to help put the spending in perspective. For instance:
- Square Mileage
- Percentage of population with Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI)
- Number of Damaged Structures in Major Storms (Allison, Tax Day, Memorial Day, Harvey)
With this information, I compiled a master spreadsheet that showed spending, spending per square mile, spending per capita, damage by storm, total damage, and rank orders for each watershed during various periods.
I have also flown over the more “controversial” watersheds and photographed flood mitigation projects that “don’t exist” according to some activists and politicians arguing for an even greater share of the pie.
With all this information, I have compiled a series of articles related to funding for those who wish to make informed decisions.
For more information and analysis of the data, see the links below and to the right.
- Flood Mitigation Funding: Halls, Greens Get $422 Million
- Funding Comparison of Low- and High-income Quartiles
- Funding Comparison of Watersheds Above and Below 50% LMI
- Funding per Square Mile
- Why Racial Rhetoric Distracts from Finding Flood Solutions
- Funding vs. Voter Turnout for Flood Bond: Implications for Future Bonds
- Responsibilities for Street Flooding vs. River Flooding
- Highest correlation between funding and damage
- Baseless claims of racism in allocation of flood funds
- Socially vulnerable zip codes receive 80% of Buyouts
Also, here are several articles with aerial photos that show what the money bought.
Where Flood Mitigation Money Really Goes: Part Three
Yesterday, the equity flap continued in Harris County Commissioners Court. Surrogates for Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis again took the podium to talk about how affluent neighborhoods deprived low-to-moderate neighborhoods of flood mitigation dollars. The argument they use: FEMA prefers buying out high dollar homes to reduce repetitive flood insurance losses. Commissioner Ellis describes his […]
Where the Flood Mitigation Money Has Really Gone: Part Two
At Harris County Commissioners Court yesterday, “equity” proponents from low-to-moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods in Precinct 1 again complained they weren’t getting their fair share of flood mitigation dollars. In crying “foul” over a perceived lack of buyout dollars, they ignore the fact that the bulk of Federal mitigation spending is on construction projects that benefit their […]
Where Flood Mitigation Money Has Really Gone: Part One
“Equity” proponents would have you believe that Harris County flood mitigation money is all going to high-income neighborhoods. However, data obtained from Harris County Flood Control under the Freedom of Information Act shows that construction spending for flood mitigation is highly concentrated in Precinct 1, which contains many low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods. At the last Harris County […]