In 2014, the BRA and several partner organizations were awarded funding by the Texas Water Development Board to study the lower Brazos River floodplain. The study would focus on flooding issues from the Grimes/Waller county line to the Gulf of Mexico. Headed by the engineering firm of Halff and Associates, the study was nearly complete when Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast, dropping more than 60 inches of rainfall. The BRA Board of Directors approved additional funding for the study to continue, allowing for information from the hurricane to be included. The final report was completed in March 2019.
Since the early part of the century, the fight to slow the spread of zebra mussels, an invasive non-native mollusk, throughout the southern states had escalated. The BRA joined with other river authorities and water providers in a campaign to educate the public in efforts to slow the spread into the Brazos River basin. In 2016, the mollusk was found in the BRA System’s Lake Belton. In 2017, zebra mussels were found in Lake Stillhouse Hollow, temporarily halting use of the Williamson County Regional Raw Water Line to transport water to Lake Georgetown. Following meetings with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the pipeline owners, use of the line resumed when needed in 2018. To date, the mollusks have also been found in Lakes Georgetown and Granger within the BRA System of water supply reservoirs.
The water right permit for the proposed Allens Creek Reservoir was amended by the Texas Legislature in 2011 to require that construction commence by 2025 with completion by 2028. In 2017, the BRA informed the City of Houston of its intent to begin environmental permitting and preliminary design. As the BRA moved forward with the permitting portion of the project, the City of Houston became reticent and then resistant to the project, noting they had no immediate need for the water. Following more than a year of failed negotiations to buy out the city’s right in the permit, the BRA backed legislation proposed by several lower Brazos basin customers to force the City of Houston to sell their interest in Allens Creek Reservoir. The legislature passed the bill for a required sale of $23 million which was later signed into law by Governor Abbott.