Hurricane Harvey was yet another demonstration of something Mayor Turner has been saying for years: The Houston region must have infrastructure that better protects its residents and its economy from flooding. We can spend all the money in the world on rebuilding. But if we do not focus on infrastructure that will make the Houston more resilient to storms like Harvey, then all the dollars allocated to rebuild is just funding for future failure.
The Office of Budget Management’s initial budget request for the third supplemental appropriations bill included no new funds for resiliency.
The City has put forward a request for the federal government to provide $18.5 billion in funding for flood mitigation, in four different projects:
This new, third reservoir would be built upstream from the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs in the Cypress Creek watershed in northwest Harris County. It would relieve pressure on the Addicks and Barker dams. During Hurricane Harvey, Cypress Creek overflow drained down into Addicks and Barker and threatened the integrity of these dams. More than 4 million people live between these dams and Galveston Bay. In the 1940s, as part of the Addicks and Barker Reservoir project, the Army Corps of Engineers originally planned to build a levee along Cypress Creek to prevent overflows.
Construction of large-scale regional detention projects on tracts across the city to expand the number homes outside of the flood plain.
This project is proposed based on studies conducted following Hurricane Ike’s devastation to the Galveston Bay area in 2008. The project’s purpose is to protect Houston and the 6 county region (Harris, Orange, Jefferson, Chambers, Galveston, and Brazoria Counties) from hurricane storm surge and flood risks by limiting the inflow of surge into Galveston Bay. The coastal barrier’s length is approximately 60 miles. The proposed designs minimize impacts to navigation and environmental flow.