The San Jacinto River Authority has been awarded almost $1.4 million in state funding to move forward on three studies that could help protect the region from future flood events.

The Texas Water Development Board granted the SJRA funding from the state's 2020 Flood Infrastructure Fund cycle for three watershed protection studies, according to a Feb. 1 news release from the SJRA. The FIF program was created by Senate Bill 7 in the 86th Texas Legislature.

In late September, the SJRA announced that four of five projects had made it to the next round of the FIF program. One of the four projects were approved in December, and with the TWDB's February announcement, all four have now been approved for funding.

According to the release, the SJRA will receive $500,000 for the Lake Conroe-Lake Houston Joint Reservoir Study, which will determine a joint operations plan for both lakes; $500,000 for the Spring Creek Watershed Flood Control Dams Conceptual Engineering Feasibility Study, which looks at the feasibility of adding two dams in the Spring Creek Watershed; and $375,000 for the Upper San Jacinto River Basin Regional Sedimentation Study, which will determine causes of sedimentation in the San Jacinto River Basin and development a sedimentation management plan.

The grants will partially fund the studies, with the remainder of the funding coming from partnerships with other entities, such as the cities of Houston and Humble and the Harris County Flood Control District, according to the release.

“The three large projects approved today are very costly, and having no dedicated funding source for flood mitigation projects, SJRA is extremely appreciative of the Texas Water Development [Board] and the regional partners who have stepped up to help fund these efforts to provide flood mitigation within the San Jacinto River Basin," said Matt Barrett, manager of the SJRA Flood Management Division, in the news release.

The SJRA was awarded FIF funding in December to create a flood early warning system for San Jacinto County to install rain and river and stream stage gauging equipment at three locations, according to Heather Ramsey Cook, director of communications and public affairs for the SJRA.

Cook said each project must be completed in a specific timeline: Tthe Spring Creek study has 18 months to be completed, sedimentation has 48 months and the joint operations study has 36 months. The flood early warning system project, which should begin in the middle of this year, has 18 months to be completed, she said.