Recently our Precinct has been hit with two significant rain events within 30 days of one another. The first on Tuesday May 7th- a storm that was not associated with any tropical system, nor forecast to be as severe as it was that dropped up to to 12 inches of rain in some areas in a matter of hours. The second one occurring more recently, began for some of us during the night of Tuesday June 4th and for the rest of us into the day Wednesday June 5th as remnants of a developing system in the Gulf of Mexico that sent bands of rain over our area, which also dumped several inches of rain in a relatively short amount of time.
While I am relieved that we experienced no loss of life, I am deeply concerned about the County's ability to handle such large amounts of rain in such relatively short amounts of time. Also complicating matters is that we have a drainage system predicated on the Brazos River having the ability to accept our runoff. Recent rain events have demonstrated that we can not always count on the river having capacity to accept runoff, due to rainfall in central and northwestern parts of the state where the watershed begins. This is also a concern.
Many of you are angry and frustrated with these statistically and somewhat dubiously named "100 Year Events" as am I. Many are wondering- what is going on, and what can we do to solve the problem? The opinions are varied but typically fall into one of these categories. Some in the conversation believe the problem is solely with development. Others point to the possibility of climate change or weather related phenomena like El Nino. Some have insisted for years that there needs to be another reservoir somewhere on the Brazos. My feeling as it is with many complex issues is that there exists a combination of multiple and significant contributors, and not one answer alone will be the solution.
Currently there is an ongoing study that is examining not just parts of our drainage, but a review of how the system functions as a whole. I think we have to fundamentally start thinking of our drainage system as one unit, instead of parts. This study is projected to be complete in late 2020 or early 2021 and will include the analysis of creeks and tributaries that have never before been studied. I view the completion of that study as a catalyst for change and improvement to our existing drainage system and our Drainage District. What will that mean? I like you, think everything is on the table. In the mean time we must take advantage of every opportunity individually and collectively to improve our ability to weather these storms. One of those things I think we can do and ought to consider- is acquiring our own meteorologist who can advise us and provide data analysis with special regard to our own rain events, in our own watershed. Also, I think we all ought to have flood insurance. We live in an area that is prone to flooding and we all have to be as prepared as possible. Especially as we head into hurricane season.
In closing I look forward to the meetings I have set up with many of you, as we look at each of your own unique drainage profiles and make every effort to improve them. I also look forward to bringing you updates as they become available on the progress of the study, that has already begun in the Needville and Fairchilds areas.
Thank you for your time, and thank you for allowing me to serve as your County Commissioner.