Tag Archive for: funding equity

Questionable Validity of Flood-Mitigation Equity Formula

The results of an apparently invalid flood-mitigation equity formula could be used to steer billions of dollars in future flood-mitigation funding. Multiple data quality and collection issues may compound errors and the formula itself sometimes renders inconsistent, counter-intuitive results.

In the 6/28/22 Harris County Commissioners Court meeting, the Community Flood Resilience Task Force presented its first annual report. The report contains a lengthy discussion of a flood-mitigation equity formula developed by several Task Force members to “objectively” compare the “equity” of flood-mitigation investments (project costs). See the appendix starting on Page XVI and ending on Page XX.

The attempt to create objective comparisons between investments in different areas is well intentioned. However, I fear the proposed formula will create the appearance of objectivity while skewing data and producing misleading results. Here’s why.

The Formula

The formula is…

Flood Mitigation Benefits Index = Total Cost to Date/(Population Density X Risk)


  • Population Density is the number of people per square mile, calculated at the US Census Tract level.
  • Flood Risk is the current annual chance of inundation. For instance, a 1% chance = 1. Or a 10% chance = 10, etc.
  • Total Cost to Date shows cumulative dollars spent on flood-risk-reduction projects (construction only, adjusted for inflation) over the longest time period for which records are available, calculated at the US Census Tract level.

The report claims that a higher index means people have received more investment and therefore have less flood risk (i.e., more benefit). Conversely, a low index indicates less investment, more risk and less benefit.

The focus on census tracts is designed to make the data more granular than watersheds. Flood risk estimates will be averaged across the census tract and updated after MAAPnext data becomes available.

Here are several issues I have articulated to the Task Force.

Data Collection and Quality Issues

  1. Calculating only construction costs excludes other capital improvement costs such as engineering, design and right-of-way acquisition. Since 2000, construction costs have comprised only 40% of capital improvement costs. See below. And those costs don’t even reflect maintenance and repairs, which are crucial in reducing flooding.
All Flood Control and partner spending on all capital improvement projects from 1/1/2000 through the end of Q3 2021. Data obtained via FOIA Request from HCFCD.

2. According to the report, costs factored into the formula will include those from City of Houston projects and Harris County Flood Control projects. But they don’t include other municipalities’. There are at least 33 other cities in the County. The formula will reflect street-flooding risk, but not all spending to reduce that risk.

3. Likewise, it’s not clear whether the risk reflects pre- or post-mitigation spending, or both. Every time I ask about that, I get silence not an answer. Flood Control has spent more than $1.5 billion on flood mitigation since Harvey, while simultaneously developing new flood maps. Will the numerator of the formula sometimes reflect that investment but not the denominator?

4. Readily available digital spending data goes back only to 2000. But the Task Force committee chairman insists on getting data going back to the start of the Flood Control District – in 1937. If those records still exist, they will radically skew historical comparisons between watersheds, many of which were farms or forests until much more recently.

5. Flood risk depends on more than just mitigation investments. It’s a shifting target that has changed multiple times since 1937 as our understanding of rainfall probabilities has improved, and as different jurisdictions recognize that risk at different times. Flood risk also depends on upstream growth. That has been exponential. In the 2020 Census, Harris County had 4.7 million people. But in the 1930 Census, Harris County had only 359,328 – one thirteenth of today’s population, and presumably one thirteenth of the census tracts. So, attributing all change in risk to investment is fallacious.

6. Many of the census tracts have changed since the 1930s. Census tract boundaries are only “relatively” permanent. They often change based on Census results. For instance, when a census tract’s internal population grows over 8,000 persons, it may split into two or more smaller census tracts. Also, census tract boundaries may cross watershed boundaries. Major thoroughfares usually define census tract boundaries, not the direction of flowing water.

7. HCFCD has said they do not collect spending data by census tract. They calculate how much it costs to remove structures from the floodplain. So census tract data will have to be estimated manually – something that makes data-quality experts nervous.

8. Many neighborhoods outside Beltway 8 didn’t exist back in the 1930s. Beltway 8 didn’t even exist then. Nor did Lake Houston; the City began impounding water only in 1954.

9. The formula – designed to reduce flood damage – doesn’t measure flood damage.

10. So much data in this study won’t be directly comparable that I worry the authors won’t be able to highlight areas worthy of future investment. Final results will include compounded error on multiple levels. It doesn’t compare apples to apples; it compares apples to oranges, bananas, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, coconuts, Monty Python’s elderberries and more.

Questionable Validity

In fairness, I’m sure the final report, when it becomes available, would disclose these problems in an appendix or footnotes. But how many people dig into those? And who will “peer review” this study?

I have worked with market research my entire career and know the painstaking extents to which researchers go to ensure validity of their studies.

Validity has to do with accuracy. Are you really measuring what you purport to measure? For instance, is flood risk influenced ONLY by mitigation investment? Or is it ALSO influenced by other factors, such as:

The answer is a resounding YES to all those questions and more.

Good research studies typically measure the impact of one variable on another variable. For instance, in Harris County, what was the death rate last year among adults over 50 who contracted Covid among vaccinated and unvaccinated groups? Researchers carefully match the two groups being studied for factors such as randomness of subject recruitment, age, living situation, and history of other diseases. There is only one variable: vaccination. That way, they can tell whether the death rate varies among vaccinated people.

But the Flood Mitigation Benefit Index wasn’t designed with that kind of rigor. For example:

While purporting to compare ‘benefits’ of flood-mitigation to different areas, it doesn’t even employ pre- or post-measurements.

Further reducing comparability of results during the period studied:

  • Census tracts changed.
  • Population density changed.
  • Building codes changed.
  • Channels filled up with sediment, but maintenance won’t be measured.
  • AND the data does not measure street-flooding mitigation investments in almost HALF the county.

Because the flood-equity formula doesn’t control for such factors, we won’t know what caused variation in the results.

Formula Produces Inconsistent Results

The flood-equity formula does not even yield results that vary intuitively. For instance, when you hold population density and flood risk constant, but increase investment, the benefit goes up.

  • Example A: If Density = 5000, Risk = 10 and Investment = $100,000, then Benefit Index = 2
  • Example B: If Density = 5000, Risk = 10, and Investment = $1 million, then Benefit Index = 20

So, spending more money to get the same results increases benefits? Shouldn’t it be the opposite?

That’s both depressing and confusing. You spend 10X the money; flood risk remains the same; and the “benefit” increases!!!???

You would think spending less money to achieve identical results would be more beneficial. It certainly is for taxpayers.

Although the Task Force won’t admit it, the formula is really trying to prove “historical disinvestment,” a claim tossed around frequently in Task-Force and Commissioners Court meetings without data to back it up.

But if the goal is to protect the most people from future flooding, why not just invest in projects where the highest risk remains for the greatest number of people? Both of those are simple, unambiguous direct measurements. But those might not produce the results that the authors of this formula hope to get.

I believe we should look forward, not back, with our flood-mitigation dollars. We can’t change the past…whatever it was. We can only affect the future by what we do today.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/3/2022

1769 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.

Looking Through the Wrong End of the Drainpipe: The Politics of Misdirection

Seventh in a series of eight articles on flood-mitigation funding in Harris County.

For the last two years, I’ve heard the same tirades in Commissioners’ Court – that rich neighborhood’s get all the flood-mitigation money while the poor neighborhoods get none. According to Commissioners Ellis and Garcia, that’s because higher home values in rich neighborhoods generate higher Benefit/Cost Ratios and therefore get more FEMA grants. Problem is, FEMA looks at many other factors. And HUD grants favor low-income neighborhoods. But you never hear Ellis or Garcia talk about those.

In reality, most flood mitigation-money in Harris County goes to watersheds with high percentages of low-income residents. (See links to previous posts below.)

By focusing on a narrow part of the flood-mitigation funding process as opposed to outcomes, Ellis and Garcia have been looking though the wrong end of the telescope. Why? To focus attention on the wrong end of the drainpipe! 

In the most flooded parts of Halls and Greens watersheds, street after street has clogged ditch drains. Responsibility for cleaning those drains falls onto, you guessed it, Ellis and Garcia, along with their counterpart at the City of Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Simple FOIA Request Disproves Narrative

The Ellis/Garcia narrative just didn’t sound right to me. So I submitted a Freedom-of-Information-Act (FOIA) request to the Harris County Flood Control District in March for historical funding data. I wanted to see if the allegations were true. They’re not.

Analysis shows that the Ellis/Garcia narrative is 180-degrees from the truth. By almost any statistical measure, flood-mitigation spending favors the poorer watersheds in Harris County. That’s where most of the damage is. 

Surely Commissioners Ellis and Garcia can’t be oblivious to more than a billion dollars of construction benefitting their own precincts. 

And had they bothered to look, they would have found Kingwood, their favorite whipping boy, has never received one Harris County Flood Control District Capital Improvement Project.

Verbal Sleight of Hand Deflects Attention from Who’s Responsible

So, what’s going on here? Why the constant barrage of racial accusations and divisive rhetoric? 

In my opinion, the deception, omissions and distortions of fact are about misdirection.

They seem designed to deflect attention from those responsible for a crucial part of the problem: street drainage.

And if you don’t fix that, you will never solve flooding no matter how much money you throw at channel widening, detention ponds and green solutions.

A process engineer in the oil and gas industry once told me, “There’s always a bottleneck in every system somewhere.” And one of the biggest issues in neighborhoods that flood repetitively is street drainage. Water can’t get out of the neighborhoods to the bayous.  

Poor Ditch Maintenance Contributes to Street Flooding

By alleging racism in the HCFCD funding, Commissioners Ellis and Garcia are deflecting attention from a serious issue; many of the neighborhoods in their jurisdictions have awful internal drainage (streets and storm sewers) that contribute to frequent street flooding. Street flooding happens when high rainfall rates exceed the capacity of storm drains and ditches to carry the water away. The reduced capacity of the ditches below makes the streets flood on smaller rains.

Swale filled with sediment, almost totally blocking drain on Kashmere Street between Octavia and Engleford in Kashmere Gardens. City of Houston’s maintenance responsibility.
Ignacio Vasquez has lived in Kashmere Gardens for 45 years. He says he has called 311 about blocked drains like this one on Engleford St. “thousands of times”, but they never get fixed. City of Houston’s maintenance responsibility.

Vasquez says that after a heavy rain, this drain backs water up throughout his neighborhood and contributes to flooding. He says it can take up to 3-4 days for water to drain away. Completely unprompted, he then said that Kingwood was getting all the help from the City. I told him that I lived in Kingwood and that our drains were just as bad as his. See below.

Drainage swale on Valley Manor Drive in Kingwood is completely filled in. City of Houston’s maintenance responsibility.

But I digress. Here are some more street drainage photos taken on 6/26/21 in Halls and Greens Bayou Watersheds as well as Kashmere Gardens on the southeast corner of US59 and Loop 610.

Wherever I drove for five hours, residents repeatedly told me that because of poor maintenance, water has a hard time getting out of neighborhoods. It must either sink in or evaporate. See below.

Amboy and Octavia Streets. City of Houston’s maintenance responsibility.
On Octavia just east of Amboy St. City of Houston’s maintenance responsibility.
Etheline St. near Korenek St. Harris County Precinct 1’s maintenance responsibility.
Octavia St. near Kashmere Street. City of Houston’s maintenance responsibility.

To be fair, not all the ditches were this bad. But I saw thousands like these on hundreds of streets while driving around for five hours. Sometimes sediment almost completely covered drains. I often had hard times spotting the pipes.

On north side of Laura Koppe just east of Arkansas Street. Harris County Precinct 2’s maintenance responsibility.
On Kowis Street a few hundred feet east of the Hardy Tollroad. Harris County Precinct 2’s maintenance responsibility.

The saddest sight I saw all day was this home on Etheline Street between Homestead and US59.

Note the mold and rotting exterior. Also note how close to street level this home is. Harris County Precinct 1’s maintenance responsibility.
Red circle shows location of drain completely blocked by sediment. Harris County Precinct 1’s maintenance responsibility.
Sixteen more representative shots in Harris County Precinct 1, Precinct 2 and City.

With drainage this bad, water may evaporate or infiltrate faster than it flows out of neighborhoods!

Who is Responsible for Streets and Storm Sewers?

Who is responsible for clearing blockages like these? Not the Harris County Flood Control District.

Inside the City of Houston, it is the Houston Public Works Department and a mayor who has been sued for diverting drainage fees.

Who is responsible for the unincorporated areas of Harris County? The Precincts. And the worst drainage happens in Precincts One and Two with Commissioners Ellis and Garcia.

  • Why does Kashmere Gardens (in the City) have open ditch drainage that hasn’t been maintained in years?  
  • How do areas in East Aldine still have barely functional roadside ditches and residents who do not have municipal water and sewer service?  

Commissioners Ellis and Garcia have the power and the money to address these issues. Yet they have chosen not to. Why have they not helped the very people they claim are left behind?  

Show Us the Data

It is important to note the questions NOT being asked in this so-called “equity” debate. 

  • How much has the City of Houston invested in these flood-damaged areas to remediate drainage?  
  • How much have Precincts 1 and 2 invested?  
  • What drainage projects have they completed since 2000?
  • What is the capital improvement plan for each precinct, and how much of that includes drainage improvements?
  • What is the equity prioritization framework for precinct spending?
  • How much unspent money does each precinct have for infrastructure?

The answers may point right back at the people making racial accusations.

The City and Commissioners Ellis and Garcia need to provide answers. Let’s see the data. How much have the City and the Precincts spent in these areas? If these areas are underserved, Commissioners Ellis and Garcia, and Mayor Turner are responsible.

They have claimed transparency is important to them. The time to prove that is now. 

Blaming the problems on racial discrimination is an easy sell in minority neighborhoods. But it’s misdirection and it keeps the spotlight off Commissioners.

Hounding talented executives like Russ Poppe, the soon to be ex-head of the flood control district, out of their jobs won’t fix the issue either. That’s also misdirection.

And it diverts focus from finding solutions to the real problems that contribute to flooding. For that, many people need look no further than the end of their driveways.

We all need to step back and look at flooding from end to end. Then maybe we’ll make life easier for the most vulnerable people among us.

For More Information

For more information, see: 

Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/27/2021

1398 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.

Your Last Chance to Register Your Opinion on Disparity in Flood-Bond Spending

County Judge Lina Hidalgo has asked for your opinion on the composition and by-laws of a new Community Resilience Task Force. The purpose of the task force is to make recommendations on how to allocate flood-bond spending to help minorities, low income households, and other socially vulnerable groups … even more.

Argument for Social Vulnerability

The Judge argues that low income households have a harder time recovering from floods. For instance, the inability to repair a flood-damaged home can create health consequences as mold multiplies. The loss of a vehicle can mean the loss of a job and subsequent eviction.

Data Shows Spending Favors Vulnerable Segments 4:1 So Far

Active HCFCD projects in neighborhoods that rank above and below .5 on the CDC’s social vulnerability index. The blue segment represents less affluent, minority neighborhoods, which current have 79% of the active bond projects.
HCFCD buyouts in neighborhoods that rank above and below .5 on the CDC’s social vulnerability index. The blue segment represents less affluent, minority neighborhoods. They have 80% of all the buyouts.

Whether you are looking at mitigation projects or buyouts, the most socially vulnerable neighborhoods tend to get FOUR TIMES more than less socially vulnerable neighborhoods.

Yet Judge Hidalgo, Commissioner Ellis and Commissioner Garcia want to increase that percentage even more … for the next 30 years … with their Community Resilience Task Force.

Questions Posed by Lopsided Emphasis

The questions are:

  • What happens to everyone ELSE who floods?
  • Will they get NO help?
  • What is a FAIR and EQUITABLE distribution?
  • Does the NUMBER of damaged structures not merit consideration?
  • Will the DISPARITY in spending discourage middle class flood victims and motivate them to leave the county if they flood again?
  • Why are certain commissioners using the word “equity” to describe “disparity”?

The language in the flood bond promised an equitable distribution of projects, not a lopsided one.

Speak Now or Live with Consequences of Silence

Today is the end of the month and the last day to submit comments to the Judge if you want them to be considered.

Below is a poignant letter written by Jennifer Coulter, a mother with two young children. She and her husband had just started a company before Harvey. So they didn’t have the credit history to qualify for an SBA loan. And their income from the previous year threw them into the lowest category for a Homeowner Assistance Grant. Two years after applying, they’re still waiting for a call-back.

And because they lived outside the 500-year flood plain, they didn’t have flood insurance. Nevertheless, they managed to restore their home by cashing in retirement accounts. They worry now about whether they can afford college for their kids.

Jennifer Coulter’s Letter to Judge

Dear Judge Hidalgo and members of the CRTF,

Please find my public comments and questions below as they relate to the proposed draft bylaws for the Community Resiliency Task Force and the inclusion of social vulnerability guidelines in flood mitigation project considerations.

My family lives in Kingwood. We flooded in Kingwood following Hurricane Harvey, and chose to reinvest in our community by rebuilding our home. We did not have flood insurance at the time of the flood.  We also did not quality for an SBA loan. We used retirement savings to fund the rebuild. As a result, our personal financial security has changed dramatically. 

The Kingwood and Lake Houston area has historically received a disproportionate amount of flood mitigation project investment related to the greater Houston and Harris County area.  Meaning, we have received far less.  The proposed social vulnerability guidelines would continue that trend, perhaps even worsening it for this area.  

As a family, we have made the difficult decision that if flooded again, we will not rebuild and again reinvest in this community.  Without a fair investment in flood mitigation projects based upon flood vulnerability rather than social vulnerability, we are almost certain to flood again.  

We are not alone.  There are many homeowners, who if able, will relocate out of Harris County if flooded again. My questions to the task force are:  

  1. How do you intend to fund this 30-year plan if your tax base leaves?  
  2. Is making this vital tax base expendable a wise long-term solution to improve flood mitigation in ANY community within Harris County?
  3. If you are not choosing project allocation based upon engineering and likeliness to flood, how do you intend to redirect flood waters to areas chosen to receive flood mitigation improvements? Do you have a means to tell rising flood waters to only go to those areas that received improvements and not to those that didn’t qualify for improvements because they weren’t socially vulnerable enough? 

Thank you for your time,
Jennifer Coulter

I know many people like the Coulters. The prospect of more flooding with no mitigation has them at the end of their tethers. Especially after they voted for the flood bond and its promise of equity. One has already moved to Montgomery County.

Contact the Judge NOW

Please email the Judge and tell her that we need more balance in flood bond spending. Do it now! Tomorrow is too late.

Email CRTF@cjo.hctx.net to submit comments. Please be polite and succinct.

For Additional Information

Here are links to:

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/30/2020

1066 Days after Hurricane Harvey

San Jacinto River Watershed: Underfunded, Overdamaged

When I go to various flood mitigation meetings around town, I often hear – with some jealously and resentment – that the San Jacinto River Watershed seems to be getting the lion’s share of flood mitigation funding. This is not true, but it’s a popular misperception. Those who believe they are underfunded tell me constantly how unfair they think it is.

Flood Damage and Mitigation Funding Varies Greatly by Watershed

So I’ve done some research on this subject and would like to call your attention to two reports. The first is a regional report by the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium called Strategies for Flood Mitigation. It examines equity in funding between different watersheds. It found that the San Jacinto River Watershed has 3% of the region’s population, historically has received 0% of the region’s flood mitigation funding, and yet sustained 14% of the region’s damages during Harvey. That would seem to suggest that San Jacinto River Watershed residents suffered almost five times more damage per capita than other watersheds.

I wondered if there could be a correlation between underfunding of flood mitigation projects and excessive damage. That led me to another report that lists spending by watersheds in dollars: Harris County Flood Control District’s (HCFCD) annual federal briefing. It’s Flood Control’s annual report to the Federal Government about how Federal funds are being spent here. The link above is to the 2018 version, published last March. That was just BEFORE the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started its West Fork dredging project. Note also, it was BEFORE Harris County passed its $2.5 billion flood bond in August. So what follows is a snapshot of the way things were BEFORE Harvey, not now.

SJR Flood Mitigation Projects Underfunded Until Recently

A re-reading of that Federal Briefing confirmed my suspicions and the findings of the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium. The San Jacinto River watershed is by far the biggest in Harris County. With the exception of a few buyouts and flood gages, until now, it has received NO federal dollars for flood mitigation projects (at least through the County).

Source: Harris County Flood Control 2018 Federal Briefing. Harris County has 22 watersheds. The San Jacinto appears to be the largest.

By far, the vast majority of the money spent goes to capital improvement projects such as channelization and detention. Virtually all of that money is spent in six areas according to the Active Federal Projects Summary in the HCFCD Federal Briefing. They are:

  • Sims Bayou
  • Clear Creek & Tributaries
  • Greens Bayou
  • Brays Bayou
  • Hunting Bayou
  • White Oak Bayou

Previously, projects were completed for the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, Halls Bayou, Buffalo Bayou, Vince Bayou, Little Vince Bayou, and Cypress Creek. There are no capital projects listed for the San Jacinto River Watershed, past or present.

Higher Percentages of Budget than Damage

So how did the watersheds fare that are receiving federal funding? According to pages 24 and 25 of the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium  report:

  • Sims Bayou had 19% of the budget and 2% of the damage.
  • Clear Creek had 13% of the budget and 7% of the damage.
  • Greens Bayou had 8% of the budget and 7% of the damage.
  • Brays Bayou had 23% of the budget and 18% of the damage.
  • Hunting Bayou had 8% of the budget and 1% of the damage.
  • White Oak Bayou had 14% of the budget and 3% of the damage.

With No Budget, SJR Tied for Third Highest Amount of Damage

Compared to the six creeks and bayous above, the San Jacinto River had 0% of the budget and 14% of the damage. Here’s how it looks in graph form, taken from the Flood Mitigation Consortium report.

The Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium Report dramatizes the need for equity in funding throughout the region. For a complete breakdown of all watersheds, see the table on page 25 of the report.

What can we deduce from this?

Flood mitigation spending, without a doubt, reduces damage.

The San Jacinto River watershed is by far the most underfunded compared to others.

Vigilance Needed

People in the Lake Houston Area need to fight future underfunding. We have been too quiet and therefore neglected for far too long. We must remain vigilant in coming years to ensure that the projects we have been promised (additional dredging, detention and floodgates, plus better ditch maintenance) are in fact delivered.

Harris County and the federal government together are spending $1.342 billion dollars on capital projects for Sims Bayou, Clear Creek, Greens Bayou, Brays Bayou, Hunting Bayou and White Oak Bayou. The San Jacinto currently gets only one twentieth of that due to the current Corps dredging project.

Before you call Judge Emmett and your county commissioners, I would like to point out that they have already committed to a more equitable distribution of project dollars from the $2.5 billion flood bond passed in August and that the Lake Houston area should get its fair share in the future. Phone calls at this moment are not necessary. Vigilance is. We can’t change the past, but together we can change the future.

Posted by Bob Rehak on October 24, 2018

421 Days since Hurricane Harvey


Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium Issues Recommendations for San Jacinto Watershed

WhataBurger in the new HEB shopping center during flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Photo: Courtesy of John Knoerzer.

The Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium issued a region-wide 64-page report on April 5, 2018. It begins with a discussion of the pros and cons of various flood mitigation strategies in general. Then it looks at strategies that apply to each watershed within the region and the equity of funding for each watershed.

The San Jacinto watershed, they say, contains 3% of the region’s population, gets 0% of the budget, and had 14% of the region’s damages.

The Consortium’s discussion of recommendations for the San Jacinto watershed begins on page 48 and continues on page 49. Because the complete report is more than a 130 megabyte download, I quote their recommendations  for us below:

  • In-depth engineering studies and science-based hydrologic and ecological assessments to determine the cost, benefits and risks associated with the following proposed flood mitigation strategies:
    • Making structural alterations to Lake Houston dam and spillway
    • Dredging along the San Jacinto River and in Lake Houston
    • Construction of a Montgomery County reservoir system / fourth reservoir
  • Stricter regulation of sand mining operations, acquisition and complete restoration of land associated with past sand mining operations. Enact stricter state regulations and enforce penalties to shut down illegal mine operations that do not have required permits; strict enforcement of existing rules; require full restoration and/or create an in lieu fee program to finance restoration of closed and abandoned sand mining sites.
  • Stricter development regulations for the watersheds in the San Jacinto River Basin
  • Outreach to stakeholders and communities in the San Jacinto River Basin to increase awareness and facilitate greater transparency in reservoir operation and management and development of flood mitigation strategies.
  • Increased deployment of green infrastructure strategies including conservation easements, land acquisition and LID as population growth and development continues at a rapid pace. Creation of a regional LID guidelines template for use by local and county governments and LID performance criteria needed.
  • Create a San Jacinto River Community Advisory Council that meets regularly with public operators and functions similarly to community advisory councils in Houston Ship Channel industrial communities.
  • Stricter floodplain development regulations extending beyond the 500-year floodplain based on Atlas14 rainfall estimates

The entire report is a good read. It’s well designed and filled with helpful illustrations. People seriously interested in flood mitigation should download and read the whole survey. It’s extremely thoughtful and balanced.

Here is the Houston Chronicle’s take on the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium’s report.

Posted April 6, 2018, 219 Days After Hurricane Harvey.