During a series of town halls held throughout October, officials with the new legislatively-created Cypress Creek Drainage Improvement District said they hope to have a comprehensive flood mitigation and funding plan created by 2024 or 2025.

The framework

On June 18, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 5334—authored by state Rep. Sam Harless, R-Spring—which created a special-purpose district to address flooding along the Cypress Creek watershed. As previously reported by Community Impact, the district:
  • Encompasses the Cypress Creek and Little Cypress Creek watersheds, excluding the cities of Waller and Prairie View
  • Is governed by a temporary board of five directors and will require an election to select five permanent directors and confirm the creation of the district prior to Sept. 1, 2027
  • Does not have the powers of eminent domain, to impose a tax or issue bonds under current law
Why it matters

Initially proposed by the Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force in May 2022, the CCDID was created to give a voice to residents of the largely unincorporated Cypress Creek watershed following repeated flooding.

"As a state-created public entity, this special district provides—for the first time—recognized status for the citizens of the Cypress Creek watershed and an entity that meets criteria for seeking state and federal funding," CCDID Secretary/Treasurer Clara Lewis said during the Oct. 25 town hall. "Heretofore, we have not had a legislatively-created entity focused specifically on flood mitigation for the Cypress Creek watershed. The creation of CCDID as a special purpose district gives the citizens of our watershed a seat at that planning table that we simply have not had before."

Current situation

After establishing a temporary board of directors this summer, district officials said they are completing the first of three phases toward their goal of creating a comprehensive flood mitigation and funding plan for the Cypress Creek watershed. The plan includes the following phases:
  • Phase I: Review prior studies and identify potential projects
  • Phase II: Evaluate potential projects for flood benefits and cost
  • Phase III: Prepare final report with master drainage plan
The district held three town halls throughout the watershed in October to provide an overview of previous watershed studies and ongoing Harris County Flood Control District projects. According to district officials, the Cypress Creek watershed has been the subject of at least 15 flood mitigation studies dating back to the 1980s.

"We've had so many plans and what good is all this planning if the plans are not actually implemented?" Lewis said. "Our vision is to tackle these challenges more effectively through a unified voice for the Cypress Creek watershed."

Additionally, while Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey noted there are roughly $150 million in flood mitigation projects currently planned and funded to be completed in the Cypress Creek watershed over the next three years, district officials said the funding only scratches the surface of the watershed's complex flooding issues.

"If all of the recommended [detention] basins were completed for the Cypress Creek [watershed], we would only protect 19% of the people that flooded," CCDID board member Barbara Schlattman said. "Our watershed has not had sufficient funds to alleviate flooding and that's one of our chores—to be there as that squeaky wheel to try to get funding for you."

Next steps

Following the conclusion of the town halls, CCDID officials said their next steps would be to host a series of public workshops to gather input from local stakeholders with the hopes of creating a comprehensive flood mitigation and funding plan by 2024 or 2025. The district then plans to hold its election for a permanent board of directors no later than May 2027.

Get involved

CCDID officials encourage Cypress Creek watershed residents to attend the upcoming workshops and to help advocate for funding at the local, state and federal level. To provide input or submit questions to the district, residents can email [email protected] or click here.