Both local and state officials are looking to begin major overhauls to flood defenses in the Houston area. These strategies will include stricter regulations for new real estate development, buyouts of properties that likely sustain flood damage as well as other projects for flood prevention that have long been discussed but not implemented.
None of these initiatives are likely to do much for the city of Houston for next hurricane season but being half a year removed from Hurricane Harvey devastating the Gulf Coast of Texas city officials are interested in solving long-standing deficiencies that were highlighted by one of the worst storms in the nation’s history.
Governor Greg Abbot has agreed to find the funding the city would need to afford a third reservoir to provide better protection for areas of West Houston. A third reservoir system would also avoid releases from Addicks and Barker dams that also helped to flood Houston during Hurricane Harvey.
Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston is looking to partner with Harris County in providing heightened regulations for the rapid development in the region in order to protect citizens of his city from the type of loss of both property and life that was seen last storm season.
The many needs of the city in regards to Hurricane preparedness were highlighted in a seven-part series done by the Houston Chronicle back in December that was entitled ‘Developing Storms.’ The series highlighted the actions, as well as lack of actions on the part of city officials that led to the increased impact Harvey had on the city.
The Chronical identified lack of regulation with development and failure to complete prevention projects as the two main culprits.