An Adult at Harris County?

September 12, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Harvey

As we all know too well, the Texas Gulf Coast, including our own Harris County, home of the Planet Hooston, received its THIRD 500 years storm 10 days ago, flooding over 100,000 homes and causing $150 to $180 billion of damage in Texas.  AGAIN.

Ed Emmett, who is our illustrious County Judge, just had a brilliant idea – why don’t we fix that?  Good idea, Ed.  First let’s talk about some numbers.

  • 178,000 structures sit IN the 100 year floodplain (remember, we’ve had 3 – 500 year plus storms in 3 years.  County flooding guru Jeff Lindner said Harvey was the 40,000 year storm.  How’s that feel?
  • Here’s what really stupid…The county’s 2,450 miles of bayous and streams can only handle 20% of a 100 year storm.  This is why it floods when it gets humid here.
  • There is almost unbridled development going on in flood prone areas.
  • Our two western flood control basins, Addicks and Barker, have outlived their limited capacity to control flooding, as demonstrated by the thousands of homes that were flooded after the county started releasing water to protect the dams themselves.

Emmett, who is a mainstream Republican (he uses his brain) is known for his pragmatic management style.  He’s calling for sweeping changes to thinking on flood control, including a new reservoir, buyouts of flood prone houses, and other flood control measures.  In presenting the plan and speaking of the now common flooding, he said, “We can’t continue to say these are anomalies. You’ve got to say, We’re in a new normal, so how are we going to react to it?”

All I say is amen to that.  The $20 billion it would cost to mitigate flood damage is just a fraction of ONE of these debilitating events.