Apr 24, 2018

Housing Trends

Meyers Research Finds Houston Utility Districts Resilient During Hurricane Harvey

HOUSTONApril 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Meyers Research, a premier consulting practice and the housing industry’s leading provider of rich data for residential real estate development and new home construction, announced the results of an extensive study of the effects of Hurricane Harvey on over 960 Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) in the Houston area. The study was commissioned by the Association of Water Board Directors – Texas, a statewide educational and advocacy group for utility districts in Texas that exists to educate these volunteer directors on the latest technology, laws and rules that will affect their daily operations of their districts.

The results of our study show that:

  • Fewer than 8% of houses in Houston MUDs experienced flooding, which was largely concentrated in areas that were developed before the adoption of modern detention regulations, and most even before FEMA had ever released flood plain maps of the region.
  • The current system of detention regulations work. Less than 3% of the houses that were identified as flooded were built after 2009 and complied with the drainage and detention regulations adopted after Allison.
  • MUDs endured the storm. MUD directors and operators responded quickly to deploy back-up systems and additional pumps powered by generators to keep water and wastewater services operating. Less than two dozen MUDs reported damage to district-owned infrastructure and the vast majority of that damage was almost immediately repaired. Only 12 MUDs (statewide) had to issue “boil water notices” in the storm’s aftermath. MUD directors and operators responded quickly to deploy back-up systems and additional pumps powered by generators to keep water and wastewater services operating.
  • MUDs are financially healthy. MUDs are conservatively managed, and only seven districts which experienced significant flooding have less than one year’s debt service payment in cash reserves. Collectively those districts are expected to have adequate tax revenues to cover that debt service. MUDs have reserves to cover operating costs, debt service and capital improvements and provide water and wastewater services, and other amenities like parks without the pension liabilities of a city or county government.
  • MUDs have long been recognized for helping Houston house its residents affordably; during Harvey and its aftermath, these districts also demonstrated they are reliable and financially sound providers of critical infrastructure to Houston-area residents.

    A copy of the full study may be found at www.awbd-tx.org under the HURRICANE HARVEY REPORT tab.

    About Meyers Research

    Meyers Research, a Kennedy Wilson Company, is the housing industry’s leading provider of rich data for residential real estate development and new home construction. Headquartered in Costa Mesa, CA, the company has developed an innovative Zonda iPad application geared for homebuilders, multi-family developers, lenders, and financial institutions to analyze the latest housing market trends, and inform the strategic thinking behind its premier consulting practice.

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