15 strategies from Harris County Judge Ed Emmett to prevent flooding in southeast Texas

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett presented 15 ways to prevent future flooding with the help of local, state and federal governments.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett presented 15 ways to prevent future flooding with the help of local, state and federal governments.

During a news conference Wednesday, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett presented 15 strategies to protect the county and surrounding areas from future flooding with help from federal, state and local governments. Tropical Storm Harvey damaged an estimated 136,000 homes in the county, forcing local leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of existing flood control measures.

“We must quickly commit ourselves to a comprehensive plan to redefine Harris County and the surrounding region as a global model for living and working in a flood-prone area,” Emmett said.

Emmett presented the following suggestions:



  1. Create a regional organization for multi-county coordination of flood control and water management








2. Update floodplain maps
Emmett said FEMA floodplain maps should be updated to show Harvey’s impact. He also said new rules should restrict development in 500-year floodplains.





3. Build a third reservoir for the county and city of Houston
Emmett said the state should pay for a third reservoir with help from its “rainy day fund” in order to protect the west and northwest sections of Harris County. Emmett said the third reservoir would be part of a larger project to create a state or national park for the Katy Prairie.

The existing Barker and Addicks reservoirs in West Houston were built in the 1940s and are owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—Galveston District.





4. Get the USACE to fund existing flood control projects
The four Harris County Flood Control District projects should be funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Emmett said. These projects are Brays Bayou, White Oak Bayou, Hunting Bayou and Clear Creek.





5. Improve watershed indentifiers
Old watersheds in developed areas of Harris County should be identified so that the USACE knows where water will flow during an “uncontrolled release”, Emmett said. The August openings of the Barker and Addicks reservoirs were controlled releases.





6. Emergency management should develop a flood warning system and localized evacuation plans
A flood warning system and localized evacuation plans should be developed by the Harris County Office of Emergency Management, the judge said. he also suggested The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Community Emergency Response Teams create a water rescue effort with private boats and high-water vehicles.





7. Use lakes north of Houston for flood control
Emmett said Lake Conroe and Lake Houston should serve as flood control facilities as well as water supplies. Lake Houston should be restored to hold its maximum capacity of water, and the San Jacinto River Authority should create retention and detention basins upstream of Lake Houston.





8. Have the Harris County Emergency Operations Center assist with emergency operations in surrounding counties






9. Get municipal utility and other special districts to manage flood control and stormwater






10. Equip flood-prone underpasses with automatic barriers or be closed as part of a comprehensive manual plan






11. Create comprehensive plans for watersheds
Comprehensive plans should be developed for every major watershed in Harris County by the Harris County Flood Control District, Emmett said. He included Buffalo Bayou, where a canal or tunnel system might be implemented.





12. Federal, state and local governments approve buyouts or an elevation program for homes located in the 100-year floodplain or that have repeatedly flooded






13. New state regulations for development plats in unincorporated areas and in cities' extraterritorial jurisdiction






14. USACE performs high quality repairs the Barker and Addicks dams and detention areas






15. Allow Harris County to receive a portion of unincorporated areas' sales tax revenue to implement flood prevention projects





MOST RECENT

Here are the coronavirus updates to know today. (Community Impact staff)
Brazoria County reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on May 27

The county reported eight new COVID-19 cases today.

According to METRO, the two employees were a bus controller and a bus repairman, neither of whom had contact with the public. The bus controller has not worked for METRO since May 17. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Two more METRO employees test positive

According to METRO, the two employees were a bus controller and a bus repairman, neither of whom had contact with the public. The bus controller has not worked for METRO since May 17.

Floor decals at H-E-B encourage social distancing. (Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
May 27 data shows daily increase of 23 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Katy area

The total number of confirmed positive coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic increased to 988 on May 27.

(Courtesy Pexels)
Fort Bend County Attorney's Office authorized to file amicus brief supporting mail-in ballots amid coronavirus outbreak

The litigation centers over whether the coronavirus pandemic is a legitimate reason for a voter to request a mail-in ballot under the umbrella of "disability."

Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen received a positive coronavirus result May 23, a department spokesperson confirmed May 27.
Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen tests positive for coronavirus

The constable received a positive test result after experiencing a low grade fever and no other symptoms.

Here are the latest coronavirus case count updates from the Bay Area. (Community Impact staff)
MAY 27 ROUNDUP: Bay Area coronavirus updates

Galveston County reported 16 additional coronavirus cases May 27, the biggest single-day jump in the case count total this month.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar spoke to members of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce on May 27 about what the state's post-pandemic economic turnaround might look like. (Screenshot of May 27 virtual luncheon)
Texas comptroller predicts slow, steady economic turnaround post-pandemic

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said the state entered the era of the coronavirus in a healthy financial situation, which bodes well for the future as reopening continues, but that Texans are not out of the woods yet.

Superintendent Charles Dupre spoke to the Fort Bend ISD community in a video message May 27. (Courtesy Pexels)
Amid uncertainty about next school year, Fort Bend ISD to offer full-time at-home learning

FBISD's at-home learning option will be for available for families fearful of returning to school because of the coronavirus.

Christ Covenant Church held services exclusively online from March 22-May 17. (Courtesy Christ Covenant Church)
Cy-Fair churches begin to reopen for in-person services with limited capacity

Churches across the Cy-Fair area closed their doors and moved services to alternative formats for several weeks in March, April and May due to the threat of community spread of COVID-19.

Formerly known as Cryo Recovery, the wellness center began offering coronavirus-focused services such as COVID-19 antibody testing in early March. (Courtesy Huemn Optimization   Cryo Recovery)
Huemn Optimization + Cryo Recovery wellness center now offering coronavirus-focused services

Formerly known as Cryo Recovery, the wellness center offers noninvasive services such as cryotherapy, oxygen training and photobiomodulation, or light, therapy.

Nursing facilities across Texas will be able to apply for federal funds to purchase devices to connect residents to friends and family. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces $3.6 million project to connect nursing home residents to families

Gov. Greg Abbott announced May 27 that $3.6 million will be provided to nursing facilities to purchase tablets, webcams and headphones to connect residents with family members.