On Dec. 1, the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce launched a social media campaign encouraging the entire Lake Houston area community to write and email their elected officials with three immediate actions that will aid in flood prevention and recovery efforts in the Lake Houston area. The three requests are as follows:
1. Remediation through full funding for dredging the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston and stricter regulation enforcement of legal and illegal sand mining operations along the river. 2. Reduction of the pooling level of Lake Conroe from 201 feet above sea level to 198. 3. Representation on the San Jacinto River Authority Board – three governor-appointed interim board members representing downstream communities to serve until legislation is passed to address the issue.
This campaign is the initial step in a larger long-term plan formulated by the Lake Houston Area Long-Term Recovery Task Force, which was formed to create a plan to help rebuild the community and prevent future catastrophic flooding. During Hurricane Harvey, more than 30 inches of rain fell in the Lake Houston Area. In the early morning hours of Aug. 29, without warning or notice, the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) released water from Lake Conroe at nearly 80,000 cubic feet per second. Silt, sand and debris from nearby sand mining operations were washed out and into the river and Lake Houston. This caused multiple choke points along the river, resulting in a devastating loss of capacity for the river and the lake. Water was forced over the banks. Overnight, hundreds of calls were made for emergency evacuations as homes, businesses, nursing homes and schools began taking on water. The SJRA Board is comprised of five governor appointees. None of the five live downstream in the flooded Lake Houston area, where water damaged more than 6,000 homes and 3,300 businesses communities comprising the Lake Houston area. The state has not issued any plans or funding to help with remediation in our communities. It is incumbent upon every citizen and business in the Lake Houston area to gain the attention of state officials and decision makers and request action.
To join the #PleaFor3LakeHouston movement and help #RecoverLakeHouston, go to RecoverLakeHouston.com to email legislators and for more information about the campaign. Also, join the Facebook group, Recover Lake Houston, for updates on the campaign.