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Harris County flood bond vote, other issues the focus of latest Drainage Task Force meeting

August 23, 2018

The Woodlands Drainage Task Force convened Tuesday for a two-hour meeting with more than 20 community residents and leaders on hand to hear from a panel of flood and environmental experts as well as local municipal utility district representatives.

Ultimately, the main message from the meeting was that something needs to be done about flooding — but those potential solutions need to be a joint effort between the MUDs, The Woodlands Township and Montgomery County. Since the task force itself has no governing authority, possible mitigation efforts must come from other entities.

Task Force Chairman Bruce Rieser who is also a member of the township’s Board of Directors, told attendees several times that the task force has no power, and he called on county officials to get involved.

“The township is willing to participate on a limited basis, but we want to see everyone come to the table to participate. I applaud (the MUD representatives) for having some skin in the game, but at some point I want to see the county get involved,” Rieser said.

Rieser also recommended that a formal Montgomery County flood control district be created so that the county doesn’t lose momentum and instead works to fix flooding issues before they’re potentially forgotten about.

Alan Black, director of engineering for the Harris County Flood Control District, gave an update on the upcoming $2.5 billion flood infrastructure bond vote which is set to occur on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, Saturday, Aug. 25.

The Woodlands Township sits in the Spring Creek watershed, and potential bond projects slated for the area include nearly $75 million in land acquisitions, subdivision drainage improvements and planning studies for a potential reservoir.

While only Harris County residents — which includes residents of The Village at Creekside Park and neighborhoods Timarron and Timarron Lakes — are eligible to participate in the election, Rieser urged attendees to vote to approve the bond.

Other updates were given on the status of two studies on the San Jacinto River basin as well as a report from Michael Turco of the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District.

Jim Stinson of the Woodlands Joint Powers Agency, the central management agency for the MUDs serving The Woodlands, reported on culverts found under roadways in the Grogan’s Point subdivision.

“We think if they are enlarged, it would have a substantial impact on improving drainage in that region with no impacts downstream,” Stinson said.

Stinson also said he would like to secure federal funding to conduct those improvements.

Don Hickey, a Creekside Park resident, spoke during the public comment period of the meeting, echoing the call for various entities to participate and bring money to the table.

Hickey began by saying that the flooding is really an economic issue and that the community needs to rebuild better so that businesses can continue to grow.

“The township may not have exact jurisdiction over drainage, but they need to step up. Montgomery County needs to step up,” Hickey said.

The task force is scheduled to meet again on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

jane.stueckemann@chron.com

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