Our membership gathered for a breakfast on August 31st, to enjoy a panel discussion held by 3 flood experts. Dr. Tina Petersen, P.E. of Harris County Flood Control District, and Jeff Walker of the Texas Water Development Board were joined by Alia Vinson, of Allen Boon Humphries Robinson and Vice Chair of San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group 6 to discuss all things water.

Dr. Petersen kicked off the morning with a high-level presentation on some of the current projects underway at the Flood Control District. With funds provided by Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and several million in local contributions, over 30 of those projects have already begun to change the way our region deals with flooding.

One of the major ones Dr. Petersen highlighted was the T.C. Jester Stormwater Detention Basin. This project includes stormwater detention on the west and east sides of T.C. Jester Boulevard at Cypress Creek and is jointly funded through CDBG-MIT funds, State Direct Allocations (thanks to the help of State Rep. Sam Harless), Federal Community Directed Funding (thanks to the help of Congressman Dan Crenshaw) and 2018 Bond Programs funds. This project is a perfect example of partnership among local, state, and federal entities to ensure our region gets the funding it needs to continue preparing for the storms of tomorrow and keeping citizens safe along the way.

Following Dr. Petersen, Jeff Walker spoke to the group about the Texas State Flood Plan Initiative put in place in 2019 with the passage of Senate Bill 8. SB 8 directed the creation of the first-ever state flood plan for Texas and required that all recommended flood mitigation projects be ranked in the state flood plan. 15 Regional Flood Planning Groups (RFPG) were required to submit their final amended regional flood plans to the TWDB just weeks before our event.

Walker shared that though it would be difficult to fully mitigate all flood risk, taking the watershed-based approach with the plan will help reduce it as much as possible. The defined purpose of this State Flood Plan is to protect against the loss of life and property by providing for orderly preparation for and response to flood conditions. The process of creating the State Flood Plan has taken time with over 500 public input meetings across the 15 Flood Planning Groups since October 2020. The next steps for the State Flood Plan is the creation of an interactive viewer along with a statewide future condition flood hazard analysis.

After Walker’s presentation, our moderator, Alia Vinson, quickly spoke on her experience as Vice Chair of the San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group 6 and then opened up the panel for a Q&A.

Thank you to all who could join us and to our fantastic sponsors. We truly couldn’t do it without you all and look forward to seeing you again at next year’s event!