In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Legislature and Texas voters authorized an amendment to the State of Texas Constitution to create the Flood Infrastructure Fund (“FIF”). The FIF is administered by the Texas Water Development Board (“TWDB”), together with other state agencies, to provide financial assistance for a wide range of projects to improve flood resiliency throughout the State of Texas.
In 2020, the TWDB began accepting applications from governmental entities in Texas for financial assistance through the FIF. At the same time, the Board of Directors for Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 19 (“LID 19”) was looking into cost efficient ways to increase the pumping capacity to improve drainage within the Steep Bank Creek watershed. In particular, the LID 19 Board was evaluating options to improve rainwater drainage during periods where gravity outflow of rainwater from Steep Bank Creek, which drains stormwater from LID 19 to the Brazos River, is restricted due to elevated water levels of the Brazos River during a weather event. The LID 19 Board seized the opportunity and authorized its consultants to prepare and submit an application for financial assistance for a proposed new regional pump station project to serve the Steep Bank Creek Watershed and significantly improve flood resilience for property within LID 19.
With limited FIF funds available and numerous competitive applications from other governmental entities, LID 19 was required to demonstrate cost-benefit advantage and obtain written support from numerous other local governmental entities, including Fort Bend County and neighboring levee improvement and municipal utility districts.
In April 2021, the TWDB announced it would approve LID 19’s request for financial assistance, and LID 19 was awarded a 0% interest loan over 30 years for this proposed pump station project. Based on estimates from LID 19’s financial advisor, this reflects an approximately $4.5 million savings over traditional financing methods.
Lost Creek Pump Station – Project Description
In November 2021, LID 19 successfully closed on the interest-free loan from the TWDB, and the Board is pleased to announce plans to design and construct a new regional pump station. Tentatively dubbed the “Lost Creek Pump Station,” the LID 19 Board has directed its engineer to begin the design of a pump station capable of pumping 200,000 gallons per minute (“gpm”) of water from the Steep Bank Creek watershed to the Brazos River.
This additional pumping capacity will add a significant level of flood resiliency for LID 19 residents, in addition to other improvements that have been made post Hurricane Harvey. Below is a summary of pumping capacity within the Steep Bank Creek watershed that is currently available, under construction, and proposed.
After all the improvements are in place, LID 19’s Board would have initiated and executed projects that would eventually add 537.5% pumping capacity to the original capacity of 80,000 gpm, for a total of 637.5% installed capacity compared to the pre-Harvey pumping capacity.
Once all these projects are completed, LID 19 will have a very robust flood resiliency infrastructure in place to guard against severe weather events and the potential of changing and intensifying future weather patterns.
Regional Project Partners
In addition to the financial assistance provided by State of Texas through the FIF, we applaud and express our gratitude to the following neighboring political subdivisions within the Steep Bank Creek watershed, who have provided significant financial contributions towards the Lost Creek Pump Station project:
- First Colony Levee Improvement District
- Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No. 115
The combined contributions of approximately $5 million from these regional partners will go a long way in improving flood resiliency for all residents in the watershed. Based on current projections from LID 19’s financial advisor, we are also pleased to inform you that we are able to pursue construction of the Lost Creek Pump Station project, at a total estimated project cost of approximately $15 million, without raising the LID 19 property tax rate.
In addition, we thank Fort Bend County Commissioners Ken DeMerchant and Grady Prestage and Fort Bend County Drainage District for their support of this Project. The Board would also like to thank LID 19 consultants and counsel for working expeditiously to be able to secure this zero-interest loan and support from various stakeholders and representatives.
If you have any questions regarding the Lost Creek Pump Station project or the financing through the State of Texas Flood Infrastructure Fund, please feel free to attend a meeting of the Board of Directors for LID 19 or contact us through the website:
Kalapi Sheth, President
Dean Cooper, Vice President
Radhika Iyer, Secretary
Sreekanth Pannala, Assistant Secretary
Board of Directors
Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 19