HOUSTON — Harris County is celebrating the completion of two new stormwater detention basins along Halls Bayou that will take more than 300 homes and businesses out of chronic flooding danger.
The $8 million flood control project is part of the $2.5 billion flood control bond voters passed after Hurricane Harvey.
The Aldine area was hit hard during that storm and Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019. Some people living there are still recovering.
Guadalupe Jimenez’s East Aldine home still has holes in the walls, damage to the floors, and walls missing in the garage nearly two years after she flooded during Imelda, her third flood.
Jimenez is retired, on limited income, and did not have flood insurance.
“I have these little sayings on the mirror to remind me constantly as I go through that there’s hope,” Jimenez said.
Her house has since been raised two feet, but Jimenez said the water still gets close.
“I no longer look forward to having a beautiful home,” Jimenez said. “I now have a house that is livable.”
On Thursday morning, less than a mile down the road, county officials and residents cut the ribbon on the new Hopper Road detention basin.
Another one on nearby Little York was also completed.
“It will hold approximately 65 million gallons of water, which is about 100 Olympic swimming pools,” said Alan Black, Interim Executive Director of Harris County Flood Control District.
Commissioner Adrian Garcia of Precinct 2, which includes the Aldine area, says the county’s pushing for equity in its flood control projects. Past funding formulas favored wealthier areas like Meyerland.
“The federal government had created this benefit-cost index, and that doesn’t benefit areas who are receiving the same type of damage than folks in other areas,” Commissioner Garcia said.
Connie Esparza’s home flooded three times over her 42 years of living in Aldine.
“The first time ever that improvements of this nature have taken place,” Esparza said.
Esparza said those improvements give her hope, the same feeling as Jimenez.
“I went by to look at it and thought, ‘Finally, there’s hope,’” Jimenez said.
Commissioner Garcia said he’s talking with officials in the Texas General Land Office to help close a funding shortfall on the bond projects overall.
The county is also diverting toll road revenue, created a trust, and they’re hopeful they’ll receive money from a federal infrastructure package.