The Harris County Flood Control District unveiled plans for the Boudreaux Stormwater Detention Basin project to solve flooding in Willow Creek at a virtual public meeting on Sept. 27.

The detention basin is being proposed in the Willow Creek watershed in northwest Harris County, with the project in the preliminary engineering stage and plans to move into the design stage, said Brandie Zenon, manager of capital projects department north, during the meeting.

The background

The project is situated in the Willow Creek watershed, which encompasses approximately 84 square miles in northwest Harris County.

Historically, much of the flooding has occurred within the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 100-year flood plain along Willow Creek, Zenon said. This represents an area with a 1% annual chance of flooding during a storm event.

Because of persistent flooding problems, a Willow Creek watershed study was conducted in 2021 to come up with a plan to improve how water is managed during storms, Zenon said.

The HCFCD suggested building several areas to hold excess stormwater in the Willow Creek area. The Boudreaux Stormwater Detention Basin project is one of these recommended areas.

According to previous reporting, Harris County voters approved a $2.5 billion bond for flood risk reduction projects in 2018. This decision came after 23 community meetings and led to a list of 181 projects. An additional $1.35 billion in partnership funding has been secured to support these efforts.

The project is located along Willow Creek, north of the Grand Parkway and Boudreaux Road, in an unincorporated area of Harris County Precinct 3 near Tomball.

Zenon said he primary goals of the project are to:
  • Reduce the high water levels
  • Maximize how much stormwater can be contained within the Willow Creek area
  • Lessen flooding impacts on structures and roadways
Three alternatives were presented at the the virtual public meeting for the stormwater detention basin project, with each holding a various amount of stormwater:
  • Alternative 1: $55.9 million to construct 1,298 acre-feet of detention
  • Alternative 2: $78.9 million to construct 1,748 acre-feet of detention
  • Alternative 3: $76.6 million to construct 1,701 acre-feet of detention
The HCFCD recommends the second alternative. This alternative is projected to mitigate the 100-year flood area to aid 109 structures, 152 acres of land and 1.6 miles of roadway.

What’s next

The project is in the preliminary engineering stage with plans to move into the design stage in the near future. Zenon did not provide a construction timeline for the project.

According to the HCFCD, the potential $78.9 million project will commence in three phases.

The project could receive $30.7 million in funding from the United States Housing and Urban Development's CDBG-DR program, Zenon said. These funds will go toward the construction costs of Phase 1.

The HCFCD has allocated $45 million for the project from the 2018 bond package voters approved.

There will be additional community engagement opportunities as the project progresses, including a public meeting to present the final design during the design stage.