KINGWOOD, Texas -- After an aerial tour surveying the damage along the San Jacinto River Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott met with local elected officials in Kingwood to discuss new flood prevention efforts.
"It has been a trying time for this community as we work through the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey," said Abbott. "I want to assure all Texans that I am committed to working with the federal government and local officials to protect life and property from uncontrolled flood waters. I thank these local leaders for all they have done in their communities, and I want to assure them that we will continue working to make Texas more resilient to future flood events."
The governor's arrival nearly seven months after Hurricane Harvey, was met with dozens of unhappy Kingwood residents demanding immediate change. Many of their homes were flooded with several feet of water.
"We're a little upset that nothing has been done. A lot of us are still in the construction process, so the idea that it's going to flood again and we're still living upstairs and working on all of our houses is pretty scary to all of us in the community," Kingwood resident, Shannon Walker said.
"We'd like for Abbott and our elected officials to take action and reset the policies of the River Authority and a better flood protection plan," Kingwood restaurant owner Tony Raffa said.
Using Hazard Mitigation funds, Abbott said the Texas Department of Emergency Management has authorized several million dollars to help prevent future flooding. The new measures announced included dredging the San Jacinto River and the approval of 900 voluntary buyouts.
- Using Hazard Mitigation Funds, the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) has authorized $3 million to jumpstart the engineering and permitting process to determine where dredging should on the San Jacinto River.
- Using Hazard Mitigation Funds, TDEM has authorized $2 million for a regional study focused on the San Jacinto River watershed to prevent future flooding.
- Using Hazard Mitigation Funds, FEMA has approved over 900 voluntary buyouts in Harris County.
- Instructing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to investigate and take action against sand mining operations violating regulations.
- Directing the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) to immediately identify what can be done to prevent flood events along the West Fork of the river.
- Directing the SJRA to implement immediate and long-term solutions to protect lives and property of Texans living in the watershed.
- Directing the SJRA to identify funding to implement a long-term plan that better protects areas downstream of Lake Conroe.