A bill proposing the creation of the Cypress Creek Drainage Improvement District has been approved by the Texas Legislature and was sent to Gov. Greg Abbott on May 30.

Current situation: State Rep. Sam Harless, R-Spring, filed House Bill 5334 on March 30. The bill calls for a board of five temporary directors and requires an election to select five permanent directors and confirm the creation of the district prior to Sept. 1, 2027.

“Responding to an interest in creating a voice for the community in flood mitigation projects along the Cypress Creek watershed, we filed HB 5334 after working for months to craft language that ensured community-level input and the opportunity to seek out other funding, without increasing the tax burden felt by our seniors and property owners,” Harless said in a May 26 news release.

The specifics: According to HB 5334, the drainage improvement district’s boundaries would run the area of the Cypress Creek watershed, except for areas falling within the cities of Waller and Prairie View.

Those named to the proposed district’s temporary board of directors are also members of local organization the Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force.“For the first time, we have an entity to represent the residents in the Cypress Creek watershed,” Cobb said. “To me, that’s the accomplishment.”

How we got here: The watershed—which largely covers unincorporated communities, such as Spring, Klein and Cypress—has a history of flooding. During Hurricane Harvey in 2017, 9,450 homes flooded within the watershed, according to the Harris County Flood Control District.

As previously reported by Community Impact, the Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force initially proposed the creation of a drainage improvement district in May 2022 to help mitigate flooding in the Cypress Creek watershed.

“Even if certain neighborhoods didn’t flood during Hurricane Harvey, we need those residents’ input, because those areas could flood one day,” Lewis said.

What’s next: As of June 1, the temporary board of directors said they do not yet have a timeline for when the election will be held to select five permanent directors and confirm the creation of the district. To hold an election for a permanent board, the temporary directors must first get the approval of the city of Houston. The temporary board also said they plan on holding community meetings in the near future for public input on the district and flood mitigation efforts.

The district would not have the powers of eminent domain, to impose a tax or to issue bonds without getting voter approval during an election, as previously reported by Community Impact.
In other news: Once approved, the state budget will include $12 million in funding for the TC Jester Stormwater Detention Basin, which is located at the intersection of Cypresswood Drive and TC Jester Boulevard, according to a May 26 news release from Harless’ office.
  • The project has cost $6.6 million so far and is partially completed.
  • The basin will add 931 acre-feet of additional detention volume to the Cypress Creek watershed.
“Early this session I submitted appropriation requests for three separate projects in our watershed area,” Harless said in the release. “After a lot of work by the Appropriations Committee, we were successful in obtaining funding for one of the larger projects.”