Governor Abbott discusses flood prevention in Kingwood

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott on March 15, 2018

"I can't think of anybody on my street that's back in their house yet," said Kingwood resident Joy Johnston, "We just got drywall last week so we're like months away from even having a house you can live in."

Kingwood was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey but many homes flooded days later after the San Jacinto Watershed release.

Governor Greg Abbott announced several solutions on Thursday afternoon that he said will help residents immediately. They include 900 voluntary buyouts in Harris County, 134 of them in the Kingwood Forest Cove area.

"There's so much illegal sand mining going down the San Jacinto River, there's actually sand in my backyard," said Kingwood resident Shannon Walker.

Gov. Abbott said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is already investigating all the sand mine operations along the San Jacinto River.

"To make sure every sand mining operation in this region is fully permitted and operating within the law," said Abbott. "If not, we are going to shut them down."

Gov. Abbott added that three million dollars has been approved to start the dredging process.

"It cannot even begin until both the engineering and permitting processes are completed," said Gov. Abbott.

"We're trying to rebuild our community but the eminent threat of it happening again and happening so soon is pretty frightening for all of us," said Walker.

"My concern is still long term," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

And to make long term solutions happen, the county judge said the Harris County Flood Control District will need additional funding.

"Harvey changed everybody's life," added Emmett. "We now have to look and say, 'OK, we're not just about building roads, we're not just about doing this or that, we're about protecting ourselves from flooding because it ain't going to go away.'"