Flooding in the City of Jersey Village occurs primarily along White Oak Bayou as well as a smaller tributary of the bayou. The last major flood was in October 2002 and damaged more than 200 homes. In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison flooded approximately 500 homes, and in 1998 approximately 200 homes were flooded with Tropical Storm Francis. Although the Harris County Flood Control District has done much work to help alleviate the flood risk throughout the area, there is still a risk of flooding in our city. With significant rainfall, our drainage system could reach capacity, causing flooded streets, local ponding and overflowing bayous and ditches.
Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS)
The City of Jersey Village and Harris County have been issued new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM’s), which went into effect June 9, 2014. These maps do not reflect the changes that the Harris County Flood Control District has made in our area; it just shows some corrections to the last effective map dated June 18th, 2007. The city has copies of the new floodplain maps, as well as all the previous maps issued, and we will be glad to see if your property will be affected. Click on the links below for the current FIRMs for the city or come by the Public Works Department at City Hall for more information.
Standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover losses due to floods. Because the City of Jersey Village is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, it is possible for property owners to obtain federally backed flood insurance. You also can insure the contents of your home from flooding. This insurance is available to any owner of insurable property in the city, regardless of whether or not the property is located in a floodplain.
We urge everyone to purchase flood insurance; property can flood that has never experienced flooding previously. Please note that there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect, so don’t wait for the next storm to protect your family. If you have specific questions about flood insurance, or for more information on rates and coverage, contact your insurance agent. Insurance information is also available through the FEMA website at www.floodsmart.gov.
In order for the insurance agents to determine the full risk-rate for your flood insurance, you will need an Elevation Certificate. Elevation Certificates, which are prepared by a licensed surveyor, identifies the elevation of the lowest floor of your house, as well as the base flood elevation. They can help reduce your insurance premiums if it shows that your finished floor elevation is higher than the base flood elevation. The city has some certificates on file if you would like to see flood depth and slab elevations in your area and if obtaining one would be beneficial for you.
Development in the Floodplain
In natural or undeveloped settings, a flood causes little or no damage. Floodplains in natural areas help reduce flood damage by allowing the water to spread over a large area, which reduces flood velocities and provides flood storage to reduce peak flows downstream. Jersey Meadow Golf Course and the new detention basin north of the course is an area in the city that is aiding in flood plain management. Another way to protect your property, as well as the rest of the Houston/Galveston area is to not dump debris or containments in the storm drains or bayous. These drains and ditches, which eventually flow to the gulf, will not only pollute the bay waters, but might also clog the pipes and eventually cause local street flooding. Go to www.backthebay.org and Clean Water Clear Choice for more information and tips on what you can do help keep Galveston Bay and its wildlife healthy and clean. If you wish to report debris dumping, call the Public Works Department at 713-466-2133.
Remember that you need to obtain permits for most work done throughout Jersey Village, not just in the floodplain. This includes, but not limited to, fencing, ancillary structures, grading and fill, additions to garages or homes. If you have a question about whether or not you need a permit for work you plan to do, just call the Permit Department at 713-466-2110 or stop by City Hall.
Substantial improvement is defined as any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement to a building, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the building before the start of construction of the improvement. The City of Jersey Village requires that any building that has been damaged by fire or other causes, or has been substantially improved, shall be rebuilt in conformity with this article, as though it were a new building.
If the finished floor of your building is at an elevation that is lower than the base flood elevation (BFE - the computed elevation flood waters are anticipated to rise), then you might want to consider altering your building to eliminate or reduce flood damage. There are various retrofitting methods used to help protect your building from flood waters, elevating and f