The San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) has applied for a Flood Infrastructure Fund Grant from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to extend its Flood Early Warning System in San Jacinto county. The abridged grant application covers the cost of three new gages that would measure rainfall and flood height (but not flow rates). SJRA would install the gages on:
- Winters Bayou at SH150
- San Jacinto East Fork at FM945
- Peach Creek at FM3081
Complement to Potential HCFCD
These gages would complement four others that Harris County Flood Control District is considering for San Jacinto county.
- Winters Bayou at FM2693
- East Fork at SH150
- Winters Bayou at Tony Tap Road
- East Fork at SH105
HCFCD could display the information from both its own gages and SJRA gages on its Flood Warning System (FWS) website. The FWS site lets residents view data from all gages throughout the region in one location.
Gage Components and Communications Infrastructure
Equipment installed at each location would include break-away mounting pole, box enclosure with antenna mast, rain gage, river/stream stage sensor, and alert transmitter/sensors.
Components of the system susceptible to water damage would be installed above at least the 0.2% annual chance inundation level, based on Atlas 14 data.
SJRA would transmit data obtained from the gages to its ALERT2 network and display it on its Contrail system. This would let San Jacinto County staff and residents easily access and view the data at any time. These gages would become part of a growing regional network of gages.
Extent of Application
The grant application includes:
- Verifying that signals can reach SJRA’s repeater tower in Montgomery County.
- Site survey work at the proposed gage locations
- Installation of the gages
San Jacinto county would provide ongoing maintenance after training by SJRA staff. That would include including twice-per-year inspection, periodic cleaning, and any required repairs or corrective maintenance.
The intent of the Flood Early Warning System: to provide early warning to downstream residents, businesses, and property owners. The gages will also help county emergency personnel and responders protect life and personal property which can be moved to a safe location with adequate warning (vehicles, valuables, etc.).
The grant, says the SJRA, would benefit the entire population of San Jacinto County (27,819 in 2018). San Jacinto county lies between Cleveland and Lake Livingston.
Properties downstream of the gages would directly benefit by the proposed flood early warning system (FEWS). But other benefits would extend to the rest of the county. For example:
- More time to evacuate in advance of a storm could reduce the burden on county-wide emergency services.
- It could also give the county more time to close roads and tend to other needs during the event.
The gages could also benefit areas downstream of San Jacinto County. For instance, they could provide advance streamflow data to HCFCD.
Gages Located Near Habitual Road Closures
San Jacinto County says multiple major storms have impacted the areas downstream of the proposed gages, including Hurricanes Harvey, Rita, and Ike, as well as storms in 1994, 1998, 2015, and 2016. All caused road closures, high water rescues, etc. These have historically been low population areas, but are growing rapidly.
Additionally, the proposed gage at Peach Creek and FM 3081 could provide some benefits to a small area of Montgomery County, as Peach Creek runs along the county line between San Jacinto and Montgomery Counties. It is possible that some or all of the gaging equipment may be installed on the Montgomery County side of the county line, depending on site conditions.
Cost and Timing
SJRA anticipates the extension of its Flood Early Warning System can be completed in 18 months.
San Jacinto County participated in the process of developing this project. SJRA anticipates the total project will cost $65,000.
All applications for the TWDB Flood Infrastructure Fund Grants go through a two stage process. This abridged application is step one. If TDWB deems the project valuable enough, and if it has enough money, TDWB would invite SJRA to submit a more detailed application for step two.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/8/2020
1044 Days since Hurricane Harvey