Letter to Residents Regarding Harvey Anniversary

As we approach the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the improvements SPLID has made to our levee system in the last year and to inform you about our updated capital improvements plan and upcoming bond election to fund future capital improvements.

In the last year, we have:

  • increased capacity in Channels 2 and 3 by 100%, removing more than 500,000 cubic yards of dirt;
  • purchased and deployed temporary pumps with 80,000 gallons per minute (gpm) of pumping capacity, which increases our pump capacity by 30%;
  • begun the design of a new 270,000 gpm new pump station that will be expandable to 540,000 gpm in the future, thus tripling the current pumping capacity of 260,000 gpm in the south of Sienna;
  • asked our engineers to evaluate the levee system and make any and all recommendations that might improve SPLID’s ability to fight floods from both the Brazos River and a Harvey-like rainfall event.
  • engaged an independent engineering consultant to review our current levee system and our operating response during Hurricane Harvey (this analysis should be completed within the next month);
  • prepared grant applications to the State of Texas for approximately $100 million in new facilities to protect our community.

In addition to all the above, we established a Citizens Advisory Committee made up of five Sienna Plantation residents, to provide input into our planning process and priorities for future capital improvement projects.  Last week, at the recommendation of this Committee, we called a bond election for November of this year to allow residents to vote on funding of the more than 32 projects identified through this process.  The total amount of bonds to be considered by the voters is $139,000,000, which includes:

  • $46,300,000 for channel, storage, and detention projects;
  • $6,460,000 for sluice gate projects;
  • $42,500,000 for pump station projects;
  • $4,370,000 for operations and maintenance projects;
  • $25,000,000 for levee structural enhancements and protection projects; and
  • $14,010,000 for issuance costs.

A link to the full project list can be found HERE.

In short, it has been a busy year. Where we go from here is now up to you.

Approval of the bond election in November would give SPLID the ability to accelerate the construction of additional pump stations, redundant gate structures, and the installation of a state of the art monitoring system throughout the community. Without the ability to sell bonds, these projects will take 12 years from now to construct and pay for, on a pay-as-you-go basis. If the bond election passes, we can do these projects in half the time, or possibly sooner.  Because of our strong financial position, these bonds can be issued with no total SPLID tax rate increase.  Over the coming months we will be embarking on an information campaign so that you can make an informed decision in November.

Update From the Board of Directors

On May 23, 2018, the Board of Directors of Sienna Plantation Levee Improvement District established the Sienna Plantation Resident Advisory Committee.  The Resident Advisory Committee is made up of five residents of Sienna Plantation; one resident from each of the three areas in Sienna Plantation that had water in homes during Hurricane Harvey and two residents from areas that did not experience flooding.

The Resident Advisory Committee has been asked to review proposed improvements to the District’s levee and drainage system and to make recommendations to the District’s Board of Directors regarding which of the proposed improvements to include in a bond election package that will be presented to voters in November.  In addition to receiving the Committee’s input, the District’s Board of Directors will conduct informational sessions to the proposed improvements and to solicit input from all residents of the District.  Please sign-up for updates at SiennaLID.org to be informed about those meeting dates and times.

Hurricane season is already here again.  Since Harvey, the District has made and continues to make improvements to the drainage system, including:

  • Widening of Channels 2 & 3, which will add 218.7 acre feet of detention to the system.
  • Authorizing the purchase of portable, rapidly deployable pumps, for this hurricane season, which will provide for an additional 80,000 gallons of pumping capacity (a 30% increase to the South Levee System’s pump capacity)
  • Expanding the Main Channel in the South Levee System, which will add an additional 183.4 acre feet of storage to the system (beginning this summer).
  • Design of a new pump station that will add 270,000 gallons per minute of pumping capacity in the South Levee System by the fall of 2019 (an increase of 100% to the system’s capacity)

Hurricane Harvey Event Analysis

In response to the events of Hurricane Harvey, the Sienna Plantation Levee Improvement District Board of Directors directed the District’s engineer, LJA Engineering, to prepare a comprehensive analysis of the District’s current levee system’s performance during Hurricane Harvey and of the levee system’s ability to protect against a future hurricane or high water event.

The Hurricane Harvey Event Analysis (the “Analysis”) was presented to the Board of Directors in draft form on February 26, 2018, and is now available for public review. You may view the Hurricane Harvey Event Analysis here.

The Analysis reviewed and evaluated the District’s levee system’s performance during Hurricane Harvey and found that there were no mechanical, structural, or operational failures during the event and that all regulatory design criteria were met or exceeded by the District’s system.

The Analysis also made recommendations and presented considerations for improvements that may be made to the District’s system to enhance the District’s ability to protect against high water elevations during a future hurricane/flooding event. These recommendations can be found on page 22 of the Analysis. The District has already begun several projects that will create additional flood protection capacity, including widening of several channels and the design of an additional pump station that will add 270,000 gpm of pumping capacity. The Analysis goes on to make additional recommendations for future projects that could reduce the impact of another hurricane or flood event on structures within the community.

The estimated cost of all recommended projects reflected in the Analysis is in excess of $84,000,000. A portion of the cost of these projects was already planned as part of the District’s Capital Improvements Plan. However, The District’s voter approved bond capacity for levee improvement projects is not sufficient to fund all of the projects recommended or suggested for consideration in the Analysis. The District has asked its financial advisor and other consultants to develop a plan of finance, and to explore all options at the federal, state, and local levels for funding these improvements. The Board anticipates that a District-wide bond election will be held in November of 2018 to allow the voters to decide on funding these improvements.

The Analysis will be peer reviewed by a third-party engineering firm. That peer review will also be made available on the website when it is completed (estimated July 2018). The District is also planning to conduct additional public meetings over the next several months to present and receive feedback on the improvement plan and funding options.

The Board of Directors welcomes any questions and comments on the Analysis. All questions and comments should be submitted to the District via the “Contact” page.