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What you should know about Harris County's long-term flood control plans

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Harris County Commissioners Court met Tuesday morning.

Several items on its agenda dealt with flood control.

Some are projects that are already underway.

Others involve projects that could come in the future.

What projects are in the works?

Commissioners Court considered allowing the Harris County Flood Control to negotiate agreements for improvements to Hunting Bayou Watershed, Clear Creek Watershed, White Oak Bayou Watershed and Brays Bayou Watershed. Several of the requests are for engineering studies. That is one of the first steps in the process to making a project become reality.

How will Harris County come up with money to match federal grants?

The Commissioners Court is considering calling a special bond election. They discussed possibly asking for $1 billion or more. This would be paid in the form of property taxes. The date of the vote could range from June all the way to the November election.

"I asked the flood control engineer, budget management and the attorneys to come back with a proposal. Come back to us and we'll vote it up or down at that point," Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said.

What is Commissioners Court looking at for long-term flood control?

It approved getting estimates on conducting a study on the feasibility of giant, underground tunnels that could safely carry floodwater away and into the Gulf of Mexico.

One supporter said, "What we've got are Barker and Addicks reservoirs, which are basically bathtubs without a drain."

The study is expected to cost between $200,000 and $400,000. Researchers will study the soil and see if this could be a possibility in our area. Judge Emmett says no one yet knows if it could work here or where it could go.

"Proposed tunnels could be anywhere. The one that's mentioned a lot is from Addicks and Barker down to the south. Can you bring water from the Cypress Creek, Spring Creek, San Jacinto Watershed and divert that somewhere? That all needs to be looked at," he said.

In this case, Commissioners Court asked for a proposal.