Enhancing Flood Resilience: LID 19 Board Leading the Development of New Pump Station for Improved Drainage
Updated: July 27, 2023
Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 19 (LID 19) is taking significant steps towards enhancing flood resilience as it prepares for the construction of a new pump station, scheduled to begin later this year. This crucial infrastructure project is set to significantly improve drainage within the Steep Bank Creek watershed, helping to address the challenges posed by rainwater during severe weather events.
The new pump station, which has been named the “Lost Creek Pump Station”, will boast an impressive pumping capacity of 200,000 gallons per minute (gpm), effectively channeling water from the Steep Bank Creek watershed to the Brazos River during a weather event. Once construction begins for this project, there is an estimated timeline of 18 months for completion. The increased pumping capacity will greatly enhance flood resilience for residents of LID 19, along with various other improvements implemented since Hurricane Harvey. Below is a summary of the current, under-construction, and proposed pumping capacity in the Steep Bank Creek watershed. Once all the improvements are completed, LID 19’s Board will have undertaken projects that will ultimately increase the pumping capacity by 537.5%, from the original capacity of 80,000 gpm, resulting in a total installed capacity of 637.5% compared to the pre-Harvey pumping capacity.
|Original installed capacity:||80,000 gpm (pre-Harvey)|
|Mobile pumps added capacity:||80,000 gpm (pre-Harvey)|
|Steep Bank Creek Expansion project added capacity:||150,000 gpm (completed in May 2023)|
|Lost Creek project added capacity:||200,000 gpm (interest free loan)|
|TOTAL after all projects:||510,000 gpm|
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the importance of fortifying flood infrastructure became painfully evident. Responding to the call, the Texas Legislature and Texas voters authorized the creation of the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF), administered by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). This fund provides vital financial assistance to projects across the state aimed at bolstering flood resiliency.
Recognizing the need to improve drainage and pump capacity, the Board of Directors for LID 19 wasted no time in exploring cost-efficient solutions. Their efforts led them to apply for financial assistance through the FIF, aiming to secure funding for a new regional pump station. This pump station project would significantly enhance flood resilience for properties within LID 19, especially during weather events when gravity outflow is restricted due to elevated water levels in the Brazos River.
Securing financial assistance through the FIF was a significant achievement. With limited funds available and stiff competition from other governmental entities, LID 19 had to demonstrate a clear cost-benefit advantage. Moreover, they needed to garner written support from numerous local governmental entities, including Fort Bend County and neighboring levee improvement and municipal utility districts.
Despite these challenges, LID 19’s dedication and perseverance paid off. In November 2021, they successfully closed on the 0% interest loan from the TWDB, marking a significant milestone. The LID 19 Board promptly directed their engineer to commence the design of the pump station.
The significance of the Lost Creek Pump Station cannot be overstated. Combined with recent expansions to the Steep Bank Creek Pump Station, which were implemented post-Hurricane Harvey, this project will bring forth a pivotal phase of flood resiliency for LID 19 residents. The district’s proactive approach to fortifying its infrastructure showcases their commitment to safeguarding properties and communities against future flood events.
Acknowledging the importance of partnerships and community support, LID 19 expresses heartfelt gratitude to neighboring political subdivisions within the Steep Bank Creek watershed. Notably, the First Colony Levee Improvement District and Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No. 115 have made significant financial contributions to the Lost Creek Pump Station project, amounting to approximately $5 million. These regional partnerships are instrumental in improving flood resiliency for all residents within the watershed.
It is also important to recognize the diligent efforts of LID 19’s consultants and counsel, who worked expeditiously to secure the zero-interest loan and gain support from various stakeholders and representatives. Their expertise and guidance have been instrumental in navigating the complex process of obtaining financial assistance and ensuring the project’s success.
Thanks to careful financial planning and effective utilization of the FIF funding, LID 19 can pursue the construction of the pump station with an estimated total project cost of approximately $15 million, all without raising the LID 19 property tax rate. This fiscally responsible approach highlights the district’s commitment to the well-being of its residents while maintaining financial stability.
As the project moves forward, LID 19 encourages community engagement and invites residents to learn more about the Lost Creek Pump Station project. Those interested can attend a meeting of the Board of Directors for LID 19 or reach out through the district’s website for any inquiries regarding the project.