Senate committee holds public hearing following Harvey floods

- The Texas Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs congregated in New Caney Monday where victims of Harvey and county leaders were asked to testify. Lawmakers saying this is just the beginning of a long process to make sure Harvey-type devastation doesn't happen again.

The hope is that this and future hearings not only move Austin to help with the mitigation of flood damage, but also turn the heads of those in Congress who could authorize more money to prevent future devastation in the event of another catastrophic storm.

Joy Rizzi attended Monday's meeting at the East Montgomery County Improvement District.

Rizzi's home was washed away after officials opened the dam at Lake Conroe that dumps into the San Jacinto. Her river-style home had no chance with the water release coupled with 40 inches of rain that was falling.

"At 2 o'clock in the morning, Conroe opens up the floodgates with no warning, no notification, no alerts," claims Rizzi.

An alert system and better communication is just one issue officials discussed during this hours-long public meeting. Leaders also hearing how ongoing projects in impacted cities and counties need to be completed including associated costs.

"When the Gulf Coast is hit, it impacts the entire country because 29 refineries were damaged or out of service for a while," says Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who was in New Caney for part of the meeting.

The answer to fixing the mess seen in so many devastated communities is not easy.

Various suggestions were at least mentioned in the meeting, such as more reservoirs, developing a drainage system underground, as well as dredging those bayous and lakes that rose to record heights.

"In Montgomery County, in Harris County we have to look at these reservoirs and work that quite frankly has not been done in decades," says Lt. Governor Patrick.

"I want to see the government take care of these regulations and make sure as they make them and they follow them that they stay updated," says Robin Lennon who, too, lost her dwelling due to the water release at Lake Conroe.

"We'll solve this problem, but today is just the beginning of this hearing. We came to this area and we'll be going to other areas as well because I want people in this area to ask questions and get some answers as well," says Lt. Governor Patrick.

The Lt. Governor also saying that the state is hoping Congress approves $20 billion in aid for these projects to mitigate future flood damage.

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