Tag Archive for: flood bond update

HCFCD Updates Show Continuing Bond Slowdown

A Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) year-end spending report shows a continuing bond slowdown. The most recent spending update to Commissioners Court reflects all activity through the end of 2022.

The big news to report is that there’s not much news to report.

The December update showed that the San Jacinto Watershed received only $76.6 thousand during the month, ranking it 15th among all Harris County watersheds. HCFCD has only spent 2.5% of all bond money spent to date in the entire county.

A separate Biannual Update shows that the paltry progress is NOT the result of available funds. The San Jacinto has about $167 million in committed funding, but has received less than $30 million from the bond so far.

But before we dig deeper into the San Jacinto, let’s look at the continuing bond slowdown in Harris County as a whole.

December Overview

Compared to November 2022’s update, the December 2022 update shows that HCFCD:

  • Has spent a total of $1.177 billion to date, up from $1.150 billion at the end of November, a $27 million increase.
  • Bought out 27 homes countywide.
  • Secured another $30 million in funding ($1.734 billion up from $1.704).
  • Saw no change budgeted active capital construction projects ($0.00, likely a reporting mistake).
  • Saw no change in budgeted active maintenance projects ($0.00, likely another reporting mistake).
  • Awarded just one construction project worth $7 million.
  • Saw its schedule performance index dip below 1.0 for 11 months in a row. (1.0 means on-schedule).
  • Completed another 0.3% of the bond, bringing the percent completed up to 24.1% with 43.3% of the time elapsed.
  • Still has NO active construction projects in the lone Republican-led precinct. All 18 are split among three precincts with Democratic commissioners.

Reporting Mistakes

Regarding those goose eggs under “active projects,” it appears that someone just picked up the active projects pages from November and changed the dates to December. However, the HCFCD website does show figures updated through January 2, 2023. Using those as the most current figures instead would mean:

  • The total budgeted for active maintenance projects FELL from $50.6 million to $37.2 million, a decrease of $13.4 million.
  • Likewise, the total budgeted for active capital improvement construction projects FELL from $239.8 million to $223.5 million, a decrease of $16.3 million.

I’m not sure which is worse. Zeros, decreases, or errors?

Continuing, Prolonged Slowdown

Another major concern is the continuing lag in the Schedule Performance Index (SPI). This is a measure of on-schedule performance. Temporary decreases can often happen between projects. However, HCFCD has fallen behind schedule and stayed behind for 11 months in a row. The last time it reported an SPI of 1.0 was in January of 2022.

At the current rate of spending, it will take HCFCD more than 20 years to finish the bond.

Slow performance means we all live with flood risk longer than necessary and pay higher flood-insurance premiums than necessary.

For all of last year, HCFCD averaged between $20 and $23 million per month in spending.

Compiled from HCFCD monthly updates.

Under previous leadership, HCFCD averaged $35 million per month and the rate was climbing, not falling.

Spending By Watershed During December

The table below shows spending in all 23 Harris County watersheds plus countywide spending for the month of December 2022 (in the “Difference” column). HCFCD reported a decrease in Countywide spending with no explanation. The District also shows NO spending at all in three watersheds.

Compiled from HCFCD Bond Updates from November and December of 2022.

The San Jacinto Watershed is the county’s largest. Floods have damaged more structures in the San Jacinto than in all but seven other watersheds. The damage total includes five major storms since 2000 – Allison, Tax Day, Memorial Day, Harvey, Imelda.

Yet the San Jacinto has received only 2.5% of total flood-bond spending through 2022, ranking it #15 on that scale.

To date the San Jacinto has received only 13% of the $223,256,195 allocated to it in the bond. Compare that to 79% for the Brays Watershed and 75% for the Greens.

Commissioners Court Agenda Also Shows Slowdown

HCFCD has only 11 items on the Commissioners Court agenda for Tuesday, February 21. Contrast that with engineering which has 108.

And few of HCFCD’s requests involved new flood-mitigation work.

  • Four items transitioned projects to HCFCD’s maintenance program.
  • Four items involved contract changes.
  • One involved a permit for a MUD doing environmental enhancement work.
  • One would let Pasadena build recreational facilities on HCFCD property.
  • One would reimburse Union Pacific for a preliminary engineering study that UP was doing to relieve repetitive flooding along Halls Bayou adjacent to its railroad tracks.

Bi-Annual Bond Update

For additional information on the progress of the bond, see this Bi-Annual Update issued by HCFCD in January. It contains dozens of spending breakdowns. Especially interesting are the funding-gap calculations on page 11. See table below.

From HCFCD’s Jan. 2023 2018 Biannual Report.

Note that the table above shows different “actual spending to date” figures than the monthly updates farther above.

Regardless, these figures show that lack of funding is NOT responsible for the slow progress in the San Jacinto Watershed. The San Jacinto has $167 million dollars in committed funding. We’re just not spending the money.

Political priorities, not funding availbility, are the reason for the continuing bond slowdown – at least in the San Jacinto watershed. Spring Creek residents are way behind, too.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/19/23

2000 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

September 2022 Flood Bond Update

Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) transmitted an update to Commissioners Court today that shows the progress of the flood bond through September 2022. The report shows slowing activity. Specifically:

  • No new construction contracts or other agreements were awarded in the last month.
  • Total spending increased only $21 million – from $1.104 billion to $1.125 billion.
  • Overall progress remained unchanged from August. It’s holding at 23.5% complete.
  • The amount of “Professional Services Invoices Paid” declined from $4.8 million to $1.7 million.
  • Home buyouts “in progress” declined from 331 to 305 (-26).

Improvements Since Harvey

The update also included a list of accomplishments since Harvey. HCFCD has:

  • Completed 229 project components, reducing the risk of flooding for more than 14,000 homes and businesses
  • Removed an estimated 4.7 million cubic yards of sediment from channels across Harris County through maintenance efforts – the equivalent of approximately 335,000 dump truck loads – to ensure stormwater can move through channels efficiently
  • Acquired more than 21,500 acres of land for projects, floodplain preservation and buyouts to ensure floodwaters can spread out safely without structures that can flood
  • Secured more than $1.35 billion in partnership funding while pursuing more funding opportunities at the federal, state and local levels.
  • Started the third batch of major maintenance activities along Cypress Creek.

Where Money Has Gone

Note that the September update (reported in October) actually contains figures compiled through the end of August. The map below shows where more than $1.1 billion has gone.

From Page 9 of September HCFCD Flood-Bond Update

Budget Priorities

Here’s how that spending looks in table form arranged in order from highest to lowest based on spending through the end of August (column 3).

August Flood Bond Spending
Transcribed from maps in July and August

This spending shows a huge disparity among watersheds. The ratio between Brays and Vince is 335 to 1.

The table also shows the effect of “equity prioritization” – concentrating on watersheds with a high percentage of low-to-moderate income (LMI) residents.

Eight LMI watersheds have received a total of $447.5 million for an average of $55.9 million each.

Yet the 15 other watersheds have received a total of $460.2 million for an average of $30.7 million each – roughly half as much.

The entire Lake Houston Area still has only two active capital improvement construction projects – valued at $1,000 each. Both are Excavation and Removal Contracts – one in Woodridge Village and the other in the Cedar Bayou Watershed.

Slowdown in Spending Bears More Investigation

The most worrisome aspect of this update is a continued slowdown in activity. At the current rate of spending, HCFCD would spend less than half the money in the bond in the next six years. Remember, we’re four years into a ten-year, $5 billion program. At $20 million per month for the next 60 months, HCFCD would spend only another $1.2 billion. That would cover only about half the projects in the bond.

However, note that in project management, sometimes pauses are built into projects for things such as approvals, right-of-way acquisition, etc. The real question is whether such pauses can explain the current slowdown. HCFCD is investigating to see how much, if any of the slowdown, is planned. More on that next month.

To see the complete bond update, click here.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/12/22

1169 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Flood- and Garcia-Bond Updates

The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) August update to County Commissioners on the progress of the 2018 flood bond shows a continued lopsided distribution of funds in favor of low-to-moderate income (LMI) watersheds. It also showed slowing activity overall.

Separately, the County has posted a new website and scheduled input sessions for Adrian Garcia’s proposed new $1.2 billion bond proposition(s). The dates of input sessions relative to the legislative deadline for bond language make it clear that the bond language will not reflect much voter input.

Lopsided Distribution of Funds Continues for Flood Bond

Five watersheds with a majority of LMI residents have received 39% of all the flood bond spending. LMI is defined as “below median income for the region.” Brays, Greens, White Oak, Halls and Hunting watersheds received a total of $430.4 million – an average of $86 million each. Together, the other 18 watersheds received $443.5 million – an average of $24.6 million each. Countywide projects received the rest – $217 million.

Page 9 from the August Flood Bond Update.
Data transferred from map above and arranged by total spending per watershed.

I’ve said it before. Facts do not support the political narrative that affluent watersheds get all the funding. To see what the funding in those five LMI watersheds helped buy, see the photos in these posts.

Flood-Bond Progress Appears to Slow

During the month, HCFCD:

  • Awarded only one new construction contract valued at $1 million.
  • Awarded three new agreements with other contractors but spent $0 with them.
  • Completed 19 buyouts compared to 21 the previous month.
  • Spent $2.4 million on buyouts compared to $6.6 million the previous month.

The total value of active capital improvement construction projects fell to $225.8 million from $231.9 million in July and $235.6 million in June. Out of that, the Lake Houston Area still only has $2,000 or 0.0009% of the total. Although that should improve in the future, it could also worsen, depending on election outcomes in November.

Page 12 from full update.

Total reported bond spending increased to $1.1 billion, up from $1.06 billion the previous month, an increase (with rounding) of slightly more than $40 million.

Overall progress of the bond program? 23.5% complete – four years into a 10-year program.

However, HCFCD believes it is only slightly behind schedule. The District’s key performance indicators stayed steady at .97 percent.

Major-Maintenance Flood-Bond Spending Holds Steady, but Still Lopsided

Major maintenance projects held fairly steady. HCFCD spent $78.4 million in August compared to $78.8 million in July. But there’s only one maintenance project in the entire northeastern section of the county – some drainage system repairs in the Jackson Bayou watershed with an unspecified value. It’s unspecified because the report lumps it together with two projects in the Halls Bayou watershed. The total for all three is about $1 million. Assuming each project got one third of that million, the entire northeastern section of the county received 0.42% of all the maintenance spending from the bond last month.

Active maintenance projects reported on page 11 of full report.

The largest group of maintenance projects is along Cypress Creek and its tributaries. There are 14 projects valued at $48.1 million. That’s 61.4% of the major-maintenance total.

Input Sessions for Garcia-Bond

Separately, Adrian Garcia has proposed another $1.2 billion bond – even though hundreds of millions remain from the 2015 bond. Unlike the 2018 Flood Bond, which specified projects in each watershed so people knew what they were supposedly getting, Garcia’s bond contains only three high-level categories split up into Propositions A, B, and C. They include:

  • A) Public safety: $100 million
  • B) Transportation: $900 million
  • C) Parks and Trails: $200 million

That’s right. Garcia wants to spend twice as much on hike-and-bike trails as public safety.

The county will hold four open houses in each of the four precincts during the next five weeks. It will also hold four virtual open houses. For a complete schedule, see HarrisCounty2022Bond.org.

The one input session in the northeastern section of Precinct 3 will be at the Humble Civic Center at 6PM on October 4th. Neither Kingwood, Huffman, Atascocita, nor Crosby will have its own input session.

Bond Language Will Not Reflect Voter Input

The county must post bond language by September 30 at the latest. But the input sessions run until October 20th. Early voting starts on October 24. And Election Day is November 8. So the bond language will not reflect much voter input. Neither the county, nor media, will have much time to digest voter input. It’s pure political theater.

The bond website simply says that “Input will be shared with Harris County Precinct staff as they make decisions regarding future projects.”

https://harriscounty2022bond.org

The bond website provides absolutely no detail about SPECIFIC PROJECTS or WHERE projects would be – despite promises made by the County Administrator to Commissioners Court.

In contrast, my records show that Harris County Flood Control under Judge Ed Emmett posted a comprehensive list of projects almost two full months before the Flood Bond Referendum in 2018.

Equity and Political Leaning Will Guide Distribution of Garcia-Bond Funds

Commissioners Ramsey and Cagle argued for months to delay the bond referendum until details could be nailed down, but Hidalgo, Garcia and Ellis refused.

During debate in Commissioners Court, it became clear that Hidalgo, Garcia and Ellis intend to use “equity principles” to divvy up the money, not just to prioritize the start date of projects as they did with the 2018 flood bond. Hidalgo, Garcia and Ellis even passed a motion that would give Democratic-leaning Precincts about 40% more money than Republican-leaning Precincts. For instance, Precinct 3 would be guaranteed only $220 million. That’s 18% of the total even though P3 has 47% of the county’s unincorporated area to maintain, improve and patrol.

Why Trust in Government is Eroding

During debate, Rodney Ellis even bragged about how he redefined “equitable distribution of funds” in the 2018 Flood Bond text after the election.

My takeaway: Hidalgo, Garcia and Ellis don’t want to be held accountable. They talk transparency, but this is nothing more than a slush fund. And this is why trust in government is eroding in my humble opinion.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/20/22

1848 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Flood Bond, MAAPnext Updates Show Projects Slowing

Two new updates provided to Harris County Commissioners on Tuesday 8/2/22 show progress on the 2018-flood-bond and MAAPnext slowing compared to previous estimates.

Flood-Bond Progress

In many ways, the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) Flood-Bond Progress Reports are a model of government transparency. They provide detailed information, even when the news is not all good. The most recent flood-bond update showed that HCFCD:

  • Awarded one more construction contract during July. The count increased from 46 to 47.
  • Awarded 5 new agreements, down from 11 the previous month.
  • Spent only $8 million on bond projects including:
    • $1 million dollars in grant money – $368 million total up from $367 million the previous month.
    • $6 million in bond funds – $551 million total up from $545 the previous month.
    • $1 million in local funds – $141 million total up from $140 million the previous month.
  • Completed 0.2% more of the projects in the bond – 22% up from 21.8%.
  • Finished 21 more buyouts – 802 up from 781.
  • Stayed at .97 on the Key Performance Indicator Scale – slightly behind schedule.
Step by Step, Project by Project

Updates also show the progress of each bond project in the form of detailed GANNT charts. Check pages 4-9 to see projects in your watershed.

For full report in high-resolution PDF format, click here.
Watershed by Watershed

The next two pages show the amounts spent and funded to date in each watershed. These maps give readers a good idea of where the money goes. Draw your own conclusions and remember the map below when certain politicians tell you some watersheds don’t get anything.

Screen Capture from Page 10 of Full Report
Active Construction

The last two pages describe updates on active maintenance and construction projects with spending on each. They show that – five years after Harvey – the Lake Houston Area still has only two active capital projects in construction. Both are excavation and removal contracts for $1000 each.

Pace of Projects Slowing

From looking at these reports month after month, it feels as though the pace of activity has slowed. We’re 40% of the way through the 10-year flood bond in terms of time, but only 22% complete. The gap is getting wider. Worse…

At the rate of $8 million per month, it would take 500 months to spend the next $4 billion in the bond.

That’s more than 40 years, not the 10 originally planned. We need explanation. But HCFCD executives were not immediately available to provide it due to travel schedules. I will follow up.

MAAPnext Progress

MAAPnext is the county’s effort to update flood-risk maps in the wake of Harvey. There’s not much new to report.

The timeline has slipped three months. In earlier updates, HCFCD indicated new maps would be released in spring/summer this year. Now, the target has slipped to summer/fall. A large portion of the update consisted of trying to explain why. In a sentence, “We’re waiting on FEMA.”

So I tried contacting FEMA. But FEMA could not provide a more precise estimate.

Harris County followed standard practice by submitting its findings to FEMA prior to public release. FEMA is currently reviewing all data and models. It is also producing preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) based on those models. The data will help determine flood insurance premiums as FEMA moves to an actuarial-based system called Risk Rating 2.0.

Next Steps

When FEMA is ready, it will first brief community officials and floodplain administrators, and give them access to preliminary data. Shortly thereafter, FEMA and HCFCD will hold a series of open houses to brief the public. Public comment periods and appeals follow.

So, at best, the new maps will be released in 2024, seven years after Harvey. That’s fairly consistent with the length of time it took to finalize new flood maps after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. Those maps became official on 6/17/2007.

But this process is far more complex because of Risk Rating 2.0. It includes individual flood-risk assessments for millions of homes. And that risk assessment will now also include street flooding, not just coastal and riverine flooding.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/5/2022

1802 Days since Hurricane Harvey

May Flood-Bond Update Shows Spending Drought in Lake Houston Area Continues

The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) posted the June 2022 status of 2018 flood-bond expenditures for Commissioners Court last Friday. Among the report’s highlights: the spending drought continues in the Lake Houston Area where only two capital improvement construction projects are active. Their total reported value: $2 thousand. That’s out of more than $235 million in active construction projects during the month of June.

Said another way, the Lake Houston Area is getting less than one-thousandth of 1% of the construction budget (0.000851%). March and April updates show that no new capital improvement construction projects have started in the Lake Houston Area in months.

See last page of full report for high resolution version. Note spending drought in NE portion of county.

Project Highlights

In the good news category, HCFCD:

  • Completed the $480 million Project Brays
  • Finished detention Basins near Little York and Hopper in the Halls Bayou Watershed, with combined 200 acre-feet of storage.
  • Wrapped up Halls Bayou conveyance improvements
  • Began demolition of the old Raveneaux Country Club on Cypress Creek
  • Started drainage repairs in the Carpenters Bayou watershed
  • Issued a purchase order for the Atascocita Area Drainage Study, which had been approved on February 8.
  • Released the Phase II, 1800-page report on flood tunnel feasibility

Spending Breakdowns by Watershed

Harris County contains 23 major watersheds shown below.

The 23 watersheds in Harris County and the amount spent to date from all sources under the 2018 flood bond.

The table and bar graph below make the rank-order and relative magnitude of spending in various watersheds more apparent.

Spending by watershed ranked from high to low. San Jacinto is middle of pack despite being largest watershed in county,
Bar graph of table above.

Factors Affecting Watershed Spending

Several factors affect the magnitude of spending in each watershed. They include:

  • Equity Prioritization Framework – This scoring matrix gives higher priority to projects in low-to-moderate income watersheds that have a high social vulnerability index. Projects with high scores started sooner.
  • Project Lifecycle Stage – Generally speaking, the earlier a project kicked off, the further along it is in its lifecycle. Studies have completed and construction has started or even completed. Some areas that flood repetitively had engineering studies completed and were already shovel-ready after Harvey.
  • Repetitive damage to population centers – More damage in highly populated areas gets more attention.
  • Prior Investment – Sims had massive investment by the Army Corps before Harvey and, comparatively speaking, had less flooding than other watersheds.
  • Partner Funding Availability – Projects with committed local, state or federal matches get higher priority.
  • Buyouts/Right of Way Acquisition – Sometimes entire subdivisions must be bought out to make room for flood mitigation projects. This can delay construction for years.
  • Lobbying – Squeaky wheels play a role on multiple levels.

Usually, no one factor accounts for a project’s or an area’s ranking. But multiple factors – working together – can push an area up or down the list.

Certainly, some areas have suffered spending-wise because of political priorities.

Other Highlights

HCFCD spent a total of $1.05 billion through the end of May. That compares to $1.025 billion through the end of April. So HCFCD spent $25 million in May.

Of the $1.05 billion spent to date, bond funds comprised $545 million. Grants comprised $367 million. And $140 came from other local funds.

HCFCD reported a schedule performance index of .97. That means projects are running slightly behind schedule. On-schedule performance would have earned a 1.0.

Overall, HCFCD has completed 21.8% of the bond projects when we’re 37.5% of the way through the 10-year program (45 months out of 120).

For the complete June update on bond spending, click here. Remember to review the last page. It shows capital improvement construction projects throughout the county and the spending drought in the Lake Houston Area.

Posted by Bob Rehak on June 26, 2022

1762 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Progress Reports on New Floodplain Maps and Flood Bond

On Tuesday, 5/24/22, the Flood Control District transmitted updates on two projects (MAAPNext and the 2018 Flood Bond) to Harris County Commissioners. New Flood Insurance Rate Maps (floodplain maps) should be released within the next six months. In related news, the entire northeastern part of Harris County is still getting less than one thousandth of one percent of all active construction spending on bond projects.

For more detail read on.

MAAPNext Data Still Being Validated

MAAPNext stands for the next-level Modeling, Assessment and Awareness Project. In the wake of back-to-back-to-back 500-year floods in 2015, 2016, and 2017, it became clear that the floodplain maps which guided development in Harris County woefully underestimated the real flood risk in the region.

In response, the Harris County Flood Control District, NOAA and FEMA launched the MAAPNext project. It began by acquiring new, more accurate topographic (elevation) data for every watershed in the county and surrounding areas. They used LiDAR data with 9 times more resolution than the maps developed after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.

Harris County Flood Control District then modeled updated rainfall probability statistics (Atlas-14 data) from NOAA against the terrain data.

FEMA is now reviewing the results and validating data. Within the next few months, FEMA will release new floodplain maps. This graphic shows the timetable and stages.

HCFCD has completed its part of the work and estimates FEMA has completed 20% of its at this point.

Preliminary Maps Coming in Few Months

FEMA should release PRELIMINARY Flood Insurance Rate Maps this summer or fall. After the release, expect a series of public meetings. During those meetings, partners will explain the results and the public will get a chance to ask questions and/or protest the results.

For instance, some people may have raised the elevation of their buildings since development of the new maps. Maps that do not reflect such improvements could raise flood insurance rates.

Other people will no doubt question the validity of the data, because expanded floodplains may adversely affect their property values. People who have received no flood mitigation help so far from the bond will suffer more in this regard than those who have.

Following the public comment and review periods, FEMA will revise floodplain maps as necessary and then release final versions. It could take another 3+ years before we see final maps.

In the meantime, you should assume that the old floodways will expand into the 100-year floodplain and the 100-year floodplain will expand into the 500-year floodplain.

So it’s best to get flood insurance now if you don’t have it. Remember, if you are in the 100-year floodplain, your chance of flooding during the life of a 30-year mortgage is about 1 in 4. And a lot of people don’t yet realize they live in a floodplain!

To see the full MAAPNext update, click here.

Flood Bond Now 21% Complete

HCFCD also released its May update on the progress of 2018 flood-bond projects last week. Through the end of April 2022, the District has completed 21.3% of the bond program.

The District has spent $1.025 billion out of about $5 billion in bond and partner funds. Spending breaks down like this:

  • $533 million in Bond Funds
  • $356 million in Grants
  • $136 in other Local Funds.
Where HCFCD spent a billion dollars.

The update acknowledges the $2.2 million grant from the Texas Water Development Board for the second phase of the Lauder Stormwater Detention Basin on Greens Bayou. Supposedly, Phase 2 has already started construction, though I could see little more than road work last week.

Other projects starting construction last month included:

  • Bayside Terrace Subdivision Drainage Improvements
  • Barker Watershed Repairs

Active construction of capital improvement projects totaled $236 million in May. Out of that, the entire northeastern part of the county still had only $2,000. That’s right. $2 thousand out of $236 million. That’s 0.0008%.

To see the entire flood bond update, click here.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/29/2022

1734 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Flood-Bond Update through End of November 2021

At the last meeting of Harris County Commissioners Court, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) released a flood-bond update that shows spending through the end of November 2021. It provides a quick and easy way to see what your money is being spent on and where it is going. This differs from data reported recently from my FOIA Request. That data goes back to 2000 and looks at data pre- and post-Harvey, not just the start of the flood bond.

November Highlights

Below, some of the highlights from the November spending update:

  • Professional services invoices paid to date total $296 million. In November, payments totaled $338 thousand. Three quarters of that amount went to minority- or women-owned businesses.
  • HCFCD has awarded $354 million in construction contracts. Five more were awarded last month totaling $335 thousand.
  • Total spending since the approval of the flood bond through the end of November totaled $885 million. Of that, $447 million came directly from bond funds. Another $321 million came from grants. Other local funds totaled $117 million.
  • Three years into a ten year bond program, we’ve expended 17.9% of the anticipated total.
  • Home buyouts continue to drag out. HCFCD has completed 676, but 613 remain in the pipeline.

GANNT Charts Show Progress in All Watersheds

The San Jacinto River Basin has 10 active projects in various stages of development. Cypress Creek has 10. And Spring Creek has 4. To see what stage they are at, see the GANNT Charts on Pages 4 through 9.

Brays Leads Dollar Derby By Wide Margin

Brays Bayou still leads the dollar derby by a factor of two compared to the next three contenders. Brays has received $162 million flood-bond dollars to date. Cypress Creek, Addicks, and Greens Bayou have each received approximately half that. Then there are all others.

Where your flood-bond dollars have gone through the end of Nov 21..

This report PDF also contains maps that show:

  • Dollars spent in each watershed through the end of November.
  • Dollars funded in each watershed through the end of November.
  • Active maintenance projects and their values in December.
  • Active capital projects and their values in December.

The visual nature of this report makes it easy to see where your money is going at a glance.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/20/2021

1574 Days since Hurricane Harvey

HCFCD Issues Flood Bond Update as of March 30, 2021

In the March 30, 2021 Harris County Commissioner’s Court Meeting, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) gave a Flood Bond update. Here’s where projects in the 2018 Flood Bond program stand.

Overview

In the 30 months since the bond was approved by Harris County voters, the Harris County Flood Control District has used bond funds to:

  • Accept 25 grants totaling approximately $960 million with Bond funds providing around $259 million in local matching funds
  • Execute 326 engineering agreements totaling $241 million
  • Award 39 construction agreements totaling $296 million
  • Procure 19 staff augmentation agreements providing 113 contract staff members
  • Acquire nearly 340 properties at a value over $208 million for construction projects, floodplain preservation, and wetland mitigation banks
  • Make $115 million available to the Office of the County Engineer to manage and construct drainage improvements in nearly 100 subdivisions across Harris County
  • Conduct 140 community engagement meetings with over 11,413 attendees
  • Complete nearly 630 home buyouts at a value over $130 million with over 680 additional in process for a buyout (since Hurricane Harvey)
  • Complete over $125 million repair program to address damages to District infrastructure caused by Hurricane Harvey

19 Projects Completed, 372 Underway

The flood bond update shows that of the 19 projects completed so far, investigations, analyses and studies comprised 15.

Altogether there are 372 individual HCFCD projects in progress related to the Bond Program. The table below shows the stages of those projects.

88% of all projects identified in the flood bond are currently underway and at some state of completion.

Only 21 Projects Not Yet Started

Only 21 Bond projects have not yet started. They are all in the fourth quartile of the bond prioritization framework and will begin between July 2021 and March 2022. Of those, two are in the San Jacinto watershed: CI-61 (East Fork, West Fork, and Lake Houston Dredging) and F-15 (General Drainage Improvements near Atascocita).

Dredging included a $10 million match with estimated partner funds of $40 million.

FEMA/Army Corps, TWDB and City of Houston funds have covered dredging in the river to date.

Status of Lake Houston Area Projects

Other projects in the Lake Houston Area at least partially underway.

Luce Bayou and Huffman

Project underway include right-of-way acquisition, design and construction of general drainage improvements in the Luce Bayou Watershed and near Huffman (total $20 million). Luce Bayou right-of-way acquisition and floodplain preservation ($10 million) has also started.

Gates on Lake Houston Dam

Design and construction of additional gates on Lake Houston ($20 million) is nearing completion of the design phase. The City of Houston has taken the lead on that project but has made no announcements on it recently.

Other Projects Lake Houston Area Partially Underway
  • The San Jacinto Watershed Study ($625,000)
  • Funding for future partnership projects based on the SJR watershed study ($18.75 million)
  • Investigation of potential detention sites around the Glendale Dredge site in Partnership with the City of Houston ($50,000)
  • Conveyance improvements along Panther Creek ($10 million)
  • General drainage improvements east of Lake Houston ($10 million)
  • General Drainage Improvements near Kingwood ($10 million)

One Third of Projects Now Past Design Phase

One third of all projects have already begin work outside.

Ellis Not Content with 40% of Construction Going into Two Bayous in His Precinct

40% of all projects under construction are in Greens and Halls Bayou Watersheds, the two Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis cares most about. He wants to slow down projects in other areas to focus more on projects in his area.

For a discussion of how the meeting went, check back tomorrow.

For the full Flood Bond update, click here. For future reference, this link is also posted on the Reports page under the Harris County Flood Control District, tab.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/30/21

1309 Days after Hurricane Harvey