On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced authorization for about $5 million in initial funding for flood control projects to support the Kingwood area.
Abbott announced that $3 million in funding has been pre-approved to cover engineering and permitting costs of dredging the San Jacinto River, according to a press release. The state also pre-authorized funding for a $2 million regional study that will evaluate ways to prevent future flooding along the San Jacinto River.
To receive the funding, the Harris County Flood Control District still needs to submit a final application for approval by the Texas Department of Emergency Management and then the Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, the application has already been pre-approved by both agencies, said Matt Hirsch, spokesperson for the governor’s office. The funds will be released to the flood control district soon after the final application is submitted and approved, he said.
“It has been a trying time for this community as we work through the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey,” Abbott in a press release. “I want to assure all Texans that I am committed to working with the federal government and local officials to protect life and property from uncontrolled flood waters. I thank these local leaders for all they have done in their communities, and I want to assure them that we will continue working to make Texas more resilient to future flood events.”
The funds come from the state’s Hazard Mitigation Fund, which is collected from FEMA by the state for redistribution to affected cities and counties, Hirsch said. There is $500 million available in the fund today, and additional funds will be announced by FEMA by late August, Hirsch said. The funds will also pay for 900 voluntary home buyouts in Harris County, he said.
“This hazard mitigation money, they are estimating it to be just over $1 billion,” he said. “This money will be used in Harris County and all over the impacted region.”
The governor’s office is also directing several state agencies to assist in flood control efforts. Abbott requested that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality investigate illegal sand mining operations along the San Jacinto River, according to the release. Sand mining is a practice of excavating land to collect and sell sand as a component for building materials like concrete for road construction, concrete blocks, bricks and pipes.
Abbott is also directing the San Jacinto River Authority to identify what can be done to prevent flooding along the West Fork of the San Jacinto River and to implement long-term solutions to protect lives, property and communities located downstream from Lake Conroe, according to the press release.
Funding Kingwood flood prevention
On March 15, Gov. Greg Abbott announced funding intended to aid the Kingwood area with flood mitigation efforts in response to Hurricane Harvey last year.
- $3 million for engineering and permitting of a dredging project on the San Jacinto River
- $2 million for a regional study focused on the San Jacinto River watershed to prevent future flooding
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved over 900 voluntary buyouts in Harris County