The Harris County Flood Control District presented three variations for the TC Jester Stormwater Detention Basin to the community for input at a community engagement meeting June 16.

Of the three alternatives presented, HCFCD officials recommend the second option. If chosen, this basin would hold 930 acre-feet of storage with a 200-foot vegetation buffer and cost about $30 million, HCFCD Director of Engineering Marcus Stuckett said. Experts recommend that HCFCD build 25,000 acre-feet of stormwater detention to alleviate severe flooding conditions like the county experienced with Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

“Alternative 2 would reduce water surface elevations at the 10-year storm by about one and 1.1 or 1.12 feet,” HCFCD Project Manager Tojuana Cooper said.

According to the presentation, the recommended basin will avoid the existing pipeline and have minimal effects on the surrounding wetland regions.

By comparison, Alternative 1, which provides the most stormwater retention, would hold 1,070 acre-feet of water and cost $38 million, Stuckett said. This basin would impact the existing pipeline and wetlands in the area.

Alternative 3—the smallest basin design—would hold 640 acre-feet of stormwater and cost about $21 million, while also avoiding the existing pipeline and wetlands. This basin would include a 400-foot vegetation buffer that would allow for opportunities for third parties to build additional trails and amenities around the basin, Stuckett said.

According to Cooper, nature trails that exist on the site have no protections, and construction crews may remove them if needed.

“Now, once the basin is complete, the Flood Control District may work with the Greater Houston Road Biking Association to determine the best places for trails in the future,” Cooper said. “But our primary objective is stormwater detention on our property.”

Planning for the TC Jester Stormwater Detention Basin, which will alleviate flooding in the Cypress Creek watershed, began after a $2.5 billion flood bond program was passed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey flooding. However, district officials said they have only secured funding through the design stage of the project after the Texas General Land Office failed to award grant funds for the project. Because of this, Stuckett said he anticipates construction to begin no earlier than 2022, pending the district's ability to secure additional funding.

After a basin design is chosen and the preliminary engineering stage is complete, HCFCD will move into the project design stage, which is anticipated to last one year.

“We will continue to aggressively pursue funding opportunities as the project lifecycle moves forward,” Stuckett said.

For more information about the TC Jester Stormwater Detention Basin, click here.