Community Flood Resilience Task Force presents first annual report to Harris County commissioners

Community Flood Resilience Task Force presents first annual report to Harris County commissioners

The Community Flood Resilience Task Force presented its first annual report at the June 28 Harris County Commissioners Court meeting.

As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, the CFRTF was established by the Commissioners Court in 2020 and consists of 17 members. According to the task force’s website, the group advises Harris County on flood resilience planning and projects that take into consideration the needs of the community.

During the June 28 meeting, CFRTF Chair Ken Williams reported the task force had evaluated the 2022 Prioritized Framework and created a set of recommendations to the Harris County Flood Control District that prioritize people over structures. Additionally, the task force created the Flood Mitigation Benefit Index, which task force officials said they believe better accounts for historic mitigation investments and current inundation risks to identify inequalities.

“These wins were only possible because the county was able to bridge the gap between government and community,” Williams said.

Task force officials said they hope to continue their involvement of the community in their projects, Williams said, as well as selecting and implementing projects that have a more data-driven approach.

In August 2018, Harris County voters passed a $2.5 billion flood bond to fund flood mitigation efforts countywide. According to Harris County Precinct 1’s Infrastructure Planning, county investments not funded by the 2018 flood bond will be taken into consideration in the 2050 Flood Resilience Plan to create more equitable outcomes for Harris County residents.

To aid in its progress, the task force is requesting the Commissioners Court allocate appropriate funding for the preparation of the 2050 Flood Resilience Plan. Williams said the task force members believe their Flood Mitigation Benefit Index can be used to assist in planning.

However, Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey stated he has a long history of not agreeing with formulas as they can be biased based on who is running the numbers. He cautioned the task force to make sure they use quantitative—as opposed to qualitative—data when calculating their index.

“Using a formula to simply do or not do projects is kind of a dangerous road to go down,” Ramsey said.

No action was taken by Commissioners Court on the report transmittal June 28.

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