The Woodlands Township board of directors voted to renew the One Water Task Force and consider the creation of a village association presidents’ council during its second strategic planning meeting of 2023 on March 3.

The One Water Task Force was originally formed in the aftermath of the Memorial Day and Tax Day floods of 2015 and 2016 as a drainage task force in response to concerns from residents. Since The Woodlands does not have authority over water and drainage issues per its enabling legislation, the task force brought together a number of agencies and authorities that did have authority to the table in order to brainstorm drainage and flooding solutions.

“All water issues are really related one way or another,” said Todd Stephens, intergovernmental relations director in The Woodlands Township. “We really not only need to look collaboratively through partnership, but we need to look at all aspects of water to make sure we are making the best decisions and identifying the real viable solutions for the future.”

The task force was dissolved in April after director Ann Snyder’s motion to renew was not seconded by the board.

According to Stephens, the majority of the board said at the time they felt the purpose of the task force had been complete.

Board Director Brad Bailey said he felt concerned about the potential lack of ongoing collaboration between The Woodlands and other water entities such as the municipal utility districts, the Harris County Flood Control District and the San Jacinto River Authority.

“I just don’t understand how collaboration amongst multiple groups, multiple entities—whether it’s federal, state, county, river authorities or what have you—is not a good thing, because there’s always going to be a Tax Day flood or Hurricane Harvey that can present itself, and we don’t want our community in peril,” Bailey said.

The board voted 5-0 with Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs abstaining from the vote. She said she abatined due to concerns about voting on an item that was not during a regular board meeting.

The board also discussed the possible creation of a Village Association President’s Advisory Council which would allow a formal method for the village association presidents to meet and discuss larger issues which they are facing and convey them to the board of directors.

Board Director Richard Franks championed the issue, agreeing to be the liaison between the township and the advisory council if it is formed. The formation of that council will be brought back up at a future regular township meeting in order to allow time for the village association presidents and township staff to work out a meeting schedule and format, according to township officials.