District Update – August 30 at 9:30am
Riverstone – Fort Bend Levee Improvement Districts No. 15 and 19
Update 8/30/2017 – 9:30 a.m.
We are aware that many homes within Riverstone located along LJ Parkway south of Hagerson Road have reported floodwater inside homes. Many of these residents have contacted us with their understandable distress and concern. Although we are unable to answer every question that is emailed or called in at this time, we wanted to share some information to try to answer the most common questions being asked.
Why did some areas flood, and other parts of Riverstone did not?
The drainage and detention system in LID 19 is required by regulatory authorities to be built to handle a 100-year rain event. As a result of the extraordinary and rapid rainfall in the region, the system could not drain quickly enough to avoid water accumulation outside the detention ponds and channels.
The primary drainage outfall for the eastern part of Riverstone is Steep Bank Creek, which serves as major outfall for a large part of Sugar Land and parts of Missouri City. Within Riverstone, at the northern entrance, Steep Bank Creek generally runs parallel along LJ Parkway, and crosses LJ parkway between Millwood and the Orchard before flowing out to the Brazos River.
Under normal conditions, the gates within the system are open to allow gravity flow to the outfall. However, once a certain elevation on the Brazos River has been reached, the gates will close, and pumping operations are implemented to deliver stormwater to the outfall.
Unfortunately, the sections in LID 19 closest to the outfall at Steep Bank Creek are the lowest in elevation and, therefore, most adversely affected with that record-shattering rainwater accumulation. The impacted sections include Millwood, Lost Creek, the Orchard, Shadow Glen, and Sweetbriar, with floodwater in many homes at this time. As of this release, we have no current reports of water in homes in LID 15.
The rain stopped – why aren’t we seeing much progress in floodwater levels in the affected homes?
LID 19 operates a pump station at the outfall at Steep Bank Creek – the pumps here are fully operational and working non-stop to pump floodwater out of Riverstone. The pumps are designed to pump 80,000 gallons per minute. However, despite the improved rain conditions yesterday and overnight, the internal drainage remains taxed as external communities upstream and upland of these areas continue to drain, pump, and send their floodwater to us downstream. The current rate of water being delivered to our system from external areas fully taxes the pump station’s capacity, which is why despite constant pumping, the operators have not been able to reduce internal levels to this outfall.
We have communicated with some of the other levee districts who drain into Steep Bank Creek to request that they restrict flows today to alleviate the burden on LID 19’s pump station. With reduced flow from external areas, we hope to be able to get water levels down more efficiently. We have also coordinated the delivery of supplemental pumps from outside Texas to assist in this effort. We are making every effort to get water out of these communities as soon as possible, and we will do our best to provide timely updates to this website regarding estimates of when residents may be able to return to their homes to assess damage.
I hear the Brazos River crest projection was reduced yesterday – if my neighborhood did not flood, can I go home?
No. The County’s mandatory evacuation order is still in place. As of this morning, the National Weather Service is still predicting a crest of 57.5 feet at the Richmond gauge tomorrow morning. This will still be higher than any level previously recorded at the Richmond gauge by almost 3 feet, and it is not yet safe to come back to the area. As soon as we have additional information regarding the removal of the evacuation order, we will post it here, and we will email or text alerts, as appropriate.
What can I do to help?
The best thing you can do is to heed the official warnings and remain in safety – and to share this with your neighbors. We also ask for your patience. While we are doing our best to provide information to our community, our priority remains ensuring that the threat to life and safety has passed. Our emergency crews (many of whom have also lost their homes in this catastrophe) are working around the clock to protect Riverstone and get relief to flooded areas. Finally, we ask that you keep those families whose homes have flooded in your hearts and minds. They will need the support of the entire community in the coming days.