At-Large Position 5

Flood Mitigation and Drainage

TDEM Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Projects 
Hurricane Harvey landed in Texas in 2017, bringing over 50 inches of rain to Houston and flooding thousands of homes and businesses across the region. In the aftermath, we had an opportunity to rebuild Houston as a stronger, more resilient city, better prepared for future storms. The city continues to leverage federal and state grant dollars to mitigate flooding. Post-Hurricane Harvey, FEMA awarded hazard mitigation funds to the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) to address flood mitigation opportunities. TDEM awarded four Hazard Mitigation Grant Projects to the city: Inwood Forest Stormwater Detention Basin, TIRZ 17 Memorial City Area Detention Basin, North Canal Diversion Channel, and Lake Houston Dam Gate Structure. 

  • Inwood Forest Stormwater Detention Basin 
    • Construction on the $80 million Inwood Forest Stormwater Detention Basin began in May, with an anticipated completion in early 2026. The project will protect over 4,400 structures in the White Oak Bayou and Vogel Creek watersheds and will hold about 1,200 acre-feet of water, equivalent to nearly 592 Olympic swimming pools or enough water to fill the Astrodome. Inwood Forest is the first of the four Hazard Mitigation Grant Projects approved by FEMA following Hurricane Harvey and would have taken at least seven additional years without FEMA funding. The project is jointly funded by FEMA, the Harris County Flood Control District, and City of Houston. The Houston Parks Board is developing an amenities package to enhance the project landscape with funding from private donations.
  • TIRZ 17 Memorial City Area Detention Basin 
    • This $54 million project consists of the design of a subsurface detention basin, located in a Spring Branch ISD sports facility (Memorial Middle School site), and a conveyance system beginning at Barryknoll Lane, near Bettina Court and connecting to the sports complex detention basin. An alternative detention basin is being considered at 872 Bettina Court. The design consultant has been selected and the preliminary engineering phase has begun. Once completed, the consultant will produce a recommended project scope. The basin and improvements will act as a relief storm water system, reducing flooding for thousands of residents. 
  • Lake Houston Dam Gate Structure 
    • The city was initially awarded $47.1 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant funds to construct new gates on the Lake Houston Dam structure. During preliminary design, engineers determined that the construction methods necessary to complete the gates proposed in Houston’s original grant application were too high-risk due to the age of the dam. A new design was announced in December 2022, consisting of 11 additional gates being built into the existing embankment on the east side of the current dam structure. The new design is significantly pricier and requires additional funds to complete. During the 88th Texas Legislative Session earlier this year, the city was successful in lobbying for $50 million to directly address this increased cost.
  • North Canal Diversion Channel 
    • The North Canal Project is a $131 million project that will reduce the risk of flooding downtown and minimize flood damage to upstream areas along White Oak and Buffalo Bayous. The project consists of three components: a high-flow diversion channel, an overflow channel, and channel improvements. The project is being funded partially through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and is based on a 35% federal and 65% local cost share – being split with Harris County Flood Control District, TxDOT and Memorial Heights TIRZ 5. The project is currently in its final design phase.

Sunnyside Area Detention Project 

  • On October 25, city council submitted a $10 million grant application to the General Land Office for a Sunnyside area detention project. The proposed project would design and construct a 181 acre-feet multi-use detention basin at Bender’s Creek which will reduce flooding to the neighborhood by capturing overland flow and includes accessible greenspace and improves accessibility to Martin Luther King Blvd.

Roadside Ditch Re-Establishment 

  • Council Member Tarsha Jackson passed a budget amendment allocating $20 million to the local drainage program, inspiring the mayor’s ditch re-establishment program. This five-year program has allotted an additional $40 million to regrading, clearing and grubbing, flow line establishment, culvert flushing and repair, and removal of heavy debris/obstruction from neglected ditches as the city establishes a new maintenance schedule.