When Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in August of 2017, Precinct 4 Commissioner Lesley Briones was very pregnant with her youngest daughter.
During a June 9 groundbreaking for a $20.2 million drainage improvement project in the Bear Creek Village subdivision, near the Addicks Reservoir, Commissioner Briones described the stress of flooding as a potential medical emergency.
“I really thought I was going to have my baby in the bathtub,” Commissioner Briones said. “I was praying constantly that God let her stay in a little longer, and thankfully, she did.”
With her daughter now 6 years old, she knows the wait for flood resilience projects has been extremely long for many residents. Because the next big storm is not a matter of if, but when, Commissioner Briones said she and her team are working with “a tremendous sense of urgency” to keep residents safe and improve our infrastructure.
Below are some of the major flood mitigation projects across Precinct 4 that are making our community more resilient:
Kleb Woods Detention Basin
Area: Little Cypress Creek watershed
Cost: $3.7 million
When stormwater from a heavy rainfall event exceeds the capacity of drainage systems, homes, businesses, and roadways can see rapid and widespread flooding. With the expansion of the Kleb Woods Detention to hold up to 207 million gallons of excess stormwater, around 1,800 residents in the Little Cypress Creek watershed will reap the benefits of the basin.
Bear Creek Village Subdivision Drainage Project
Area: Bear Creek Village, Addicks Reservoir
Cost: $20.2 million
The Bear Creek Village subdivision in West Houston has flooded frequently, most recently with Hurricane Harvey and the Tax Day Flood in April 2016. Nearly 60% of the homes in this area were affected during Harvey. Through this investment, the areas’ improved drainage infrastructure will lower the flood risk in the 1,400-home subdivision. As of August 2023, construction was 20% complete, with a target completion date of June 2024.
Westfield Pines and Westfield Village Subdivision Drainage Project
Cost: $6.1 million
In another project to improve drainage and reduce structural flooding, this subdivision drainage project in the Katy area is over 50%complete, with a goal of finishing construction in early 2024. A 4.4-acre detention pond next to the subdivision will help mitigate stormwater.
Addicks Reservoir De-silt and Repair Program
Area: Addicks Reservoir Watershed
Cost: $5.99 million for most recent Desilt package
The Memorial Day Flood, Tax Day Flood, and Hurricane Harvey sent record levels of stormwater through the channels leading into the Addicks Reservoir. During a storm event, sand and soil get trapped in the stormwater, settling out when the water slows. The result is a silt deposit that can build up across a channel. The removal of silt through this program will help lower the flood risk and ensure the channels carry water at their designed capacity.
Partnering for a more resilient future
To build flood resiliency in a precinct the size of Rhode Island, Commissioner Briones is committed to forging strong partnerships with local, state, and federal partners.
Whether through direct collaboration with the Harris County Flood Control District to invest over $1 billion in flood mitigation grants from the Texas General Land Office, or on the $2.5 billion flood bond to help share the cost of local infrastructure projects, Commissioner Briones said keeping Harris County safe, resilient, and competitive as a region is a team effort. Precinct 4’s Places 4 People, launching later this year, is one such example.
“Precinct 4 for the first time put out a proactive call for partnership projects,” Commissioner Briones said. “We want to partner with our cities, with our school districts, with our [municipal utility districts], [and] with our management districts to invest the county’s infrastructure dollars in collaboration. Because if we can leverage our respective funding, we can get so much more done, and we can get it done more quickly.”
Places 4 People will leverage $133 million in sustainable infrastructure projects with a $60 million investment from Precinct 4. Click here to learn more.
Flooding, after all, is a regional issue. Flood projects in one area don’t just keep the nearby communities safer - the county's watersheds and drainage systems are interconnected. By mitigating flooding upstream, or at higher elevations, water will flow downstream in smaller amounts and with less intensity, benefitting all communities.