This past weekend, voters approved and passed a $2.5 billion bond to support projects to reduce flood damage in Harris County. The outcome will allow the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) to build approximately 230 projects over the next 15 years. This bond is the largest measure to ever be approved in Harris County, with a voter approval rating of more than 85 percent.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Judge Ed Emmett remarked that voters have stepped up to show the rest of the country that the Houston area takes flooding seriously and can be a model for other coastal regions grappling with stronger and more frequent storms. “When was the last time you saw a vote get approved by 85 percent?” Emmett asked at this weekend’s election watch party. “It’s remarkable.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, the County Commissioners Court met on August 28 to approve funding for several future projects, including $1.2 billion for channel improvements, $401 million for detention basins, $242 million for floodplain land acquisition, $12.5 million for new floodplain mapping, and $1.25 million for an improved early flood warning system. Another $500 million still remains unallocated for engineers to finance future projects.
A post on the HCFCD website about the 2018 bond program states that “the Harris County Flood Control District will prioritize, plan and build projects with bond funding – and will provide transparent tracking of progress on those projects along the way.” This means citizens will have continual online access to information about ongoing HCFCD projects at all times. This includes access to an interactive map where users can enter their address and search for local proposed projects. Finally, in an effort to sustain community engagement, HCFCD will conduct a public meeting for each primary project watershed to solicits comments and suggestions from the community about each project.
You can read more about upcoming plans for the HCFCD bond program and access the interactive project map here.