U.S. District 2 candidates advocate less bureaucracy, more action in proposed flood control policies

Residents say projects outlined in Harris County's flood bond will not be enough to prevent or mitigate flooding in middle and lower Cypress Creek.

Residents say projects outlined in Harris County's flood bond will not be enough to prevent or mitigate flooding in middle and lower Cypress Creek.

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On Aug. 25, Harris County voters approved a $2.5 billion flood bond referendum which will finance flood prevention projects throughout the county for the next 15 years.

At a flooding issues seminar held 10 days before the bond election, U.S. District 2 representative candidates Todd Litton, the Democratic nominee, and Dan Crenshaw, the Republican nominee, outlined their proposed plans of action for local flood policy. These plans include assessing the feasibility of building a third reservoir in Cypress Creek watershed and advocating for more—and quicker—aid for flood victims.

Litton said Aug. 15 he would advocate for additional funding even if voters approved the bond, which they did the following week.

“[Cypress Creek] is the biggest watershed around, and we have no investments,” Litton said. “That makes no sense.”

The final project list prepared by Harris County Flood Control District designates $291 million in local funds for projects in the Cypress Creek watershed, not counting matching amounts from funding partners.

Crenshaw and Litton also said they want swifter action from local and federal agencies to expedite funding for those impacted by flooding. Crenshaw, for example, said he plans to pressure federal agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency to stop using their role as “payer of last resort”—which requires individuals to exhaust other forms of insurance before seeking reimbursement from FEMA—to delay aid.

According to his campaign materials, Crenshaw supports FEMA developing a tiered structure that delivers grant funds to individuals based on damage assessments, rather than based on what other entities are aiding flood victims.

“Cut some of the red tape,” Crenshaw said at the seminar. “Let FEMA actually help people … get the money to people more quickly.”

Another longterm solution discussed at the seminar was potentially building a third reservoir in Cypress Creek watershed, which they said would help alleviate the flooding destruction downstream in communities surrounding Barker and Addicks.

“Done properly, a third reservoir will protect our people and our property across Harris County,” Litton said. “We’ve got to figure out how to build that and get started.”
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


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