What voters from Hutto to Leander need to know about $85M Upper Brushy Creek WCID bond proposal

The Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District issued an $85 million bond proposal to fund several flood safety projects, including a new dam and drainage improvement efforts. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
The Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District issued an $85 million bond proposal to fund several flood safety projects, including a new dam and drainage improvement efforts. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District issued an $85 million bond proposal to fund several flood safety projects, including a new dam and drainage improvement efforts. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Voters from Hutto to Leander will consider whether to approve an $85 million bond in November. The Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District issued the bond proposal to fund several flood safety projects, including a new dam and drainage improvement efforts.

Flood mitigation

More than 400,000 people live within the Upper Brushy Creek WCID's boundaries, according to information provided by the district. As Williamson County continues to experience rapid population growth, the district is looking to ensure flood protection for area residents.

In Cedar Park, plans for the Block House Creek project include channel and drainage improvements. As it stands, park channel improvements are under design, according to the city of Cedar Park, and construction is anticipated to start in early 2021.

In Round Rock, the Lake Creek project includes the construction of Dam 101. The new dam will be built south of RM 620 and north of SH 45. The city of Round Rock, to the tune of $2 million, and the district, to the tune of $1 million, shared costs for the project's design. The Upper Brushy Creek WCID committed to securing the land for a maximum price of $5 million. Construction funding has not yet been identified, according to information from the district.


Dam rehabilitation

As it stands, the Upper Brushy Creek WCID manages more than 20 dams in Williamson County. The board of directors has stated intentions to rehabilitate aging dams to ensure ongoing flood protection.

Should the bond proposal pass, the district will commit funds to improving dam embankments, preventing or correcting unstable sloping sides. A 2020 Dam Assessment Study based on Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines found around 25% of the risk to existing infrastructure in the district is associated with the embankments.

More than 60% of the risk to existing structures is related to auxiliary spillways, the study found. Auxiliary spillways allow the passage of floodwaters without compromising the dam’s integrity, according to the district.

In addition, principal spillways, where water leaves a dam's reservoir, are identified in bond materials as a focus for future funding. Projects would include addressing existing issues and optimizing spillway capacity.
By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


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