$43 million granted by Texas GLO for historic disaster mitigation projects in Karnes County

Funds to improve water infrastructure approved for the city of Kenedy

Contact: Brittany Eck
(512) 463-5708
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PRESS RELEASE — May 21, 2021

AUSTIN — Today Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Mayor Joe Baker announced the Texas General Land Office (GLO) approved $43 million in flood mitigation projects to improve water infrastructure in Karnes County and the City of Kenedy. These infrastructure projects will directly benefit thousands of residents in a majority low-to-moderate income (LMI) area with safe, potable water during significant rain events. 

“The City of Kenedy is a great example of a community in need of vital infrastructure improvements, but without access to the necessary financial resources until now,” said Commissioner Bush. “This same need is evident throughout the state. With this first round of mitigation funding, the GLO is proud to help communities like the city of Kenedy to address the challenges they currently face, which will have a massive benefit for decades to come.”

“The City of Kenedy has endured the failure of its water treatment plant four times during disaster events in recent years, forcing residents, evacuees, and businesses to go without water for too long,” said Kenedy Mayor Joe Baker. “This $43 million in funding from Commissioner George P. Bush and the GLO will give us a new, reliable water supply and upgrade our water treatment systems, providing welcome relief when future storms hit. This is such great news for the people of Kenedy and we are all so grateful!"

In May 2020, Commissioner George P. Bush announced the kick-off of the application process for the first round of more than $2.3 billion in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to protect Texas communities hit by Hurricane Harvey and severe flooding in 2015 and 2016. During the first round, the GLO conducted three competitive application programs from the CDBG-MIT Action Plan. Those programs include:

Applications closed for the first round of funding October 28, 2020, and the GLO evaluated all 290 submitted applications in accordance with the HUD approved scoring criteria. Eligible applications with the highest scores were awarded funds. The second round of the competition will award the remaining $1,144,776,720 in mitigation funding to Hurricane Harvey eligible entities.

HUD defines mitigation as activities that increase resilience to disasters and reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of loss of life, injury, damage to and loss of property, and suffering and hardship, by lessening the impact of future disasters. HUD requires that at least 50% of total funds must be used for activities benefiting low- to moderate-income (LMI) persons.

The State of Texas CDBG Mitigation Action Plan: Building Stronger for a Resilient Future outlines the use of funds, programs, eligible applicants, and eligibility criteria as required by HUD. The plan was sent to HUD on February 3, 2020, after an extraordinary public outreach effort including a 50-day public comment period and eight regional public hearings, far-surpassing HUD requirements. HUD approved the plan March 31, 2020. For more information, please visit recovery.texas.gov/mitigation.

City of Kenedy: Citywide Water Treatment Plant - $43,040,879

LMI Percentage: 52.25% 

The city of Kenedy has endured the failure of its water treatment plant four times during four disaster events. Residents, evacuees, and businesses have been forced to go without water for periods of time and to boil their water in direct relation to natural disaster storm events.

To resolve this issue, the city has identified a water source capable of producing “out of the ground” fresh water. The location of the water source is far enough away from coastal areas that any storm system reaching the site should have dissipated and only have minimal impact. Due to the extensive length of the transmission line in conjunction with the installation of a third elevated storage tank, the city would have access to an additional five days of water, thereby permitting enough time for storage tanks to properly refill and maintain TCEQ required pressure and flow rates. 

The project includes the following:

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