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

Copendero Gun Range is under construction. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Copendero Gun Range expected to complete construction on Robinson Road in 2022 despite supply chain issues

Supply chain demands have caused a delay in the delivery of steel for the project, which is anticipated to arrive in mid-November.

Graphic by James Inglish/Community Impact Newspaper
Looking inward: Clear Creek ISD uses equity audit findings for student success

Auditors concluded there are unclear definitions around equity in CCISD; economic need has an influence on end-of-year exam performance; and the diversity of CCISD’s student population is not being represented in staff, among other findings. These results are just one piece of the puzzle, district officials emphasized, when it comes to how they approach serving students’ academic, social and emotional needs.

Sam Ramen is located in the corner storefront at The Market at Harper's Preserve. (Ally Bolender/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sam Ramen coming to The Market at Harper’s Preserve in December

The restaurant is expected to serve ramen, sushi and other Asian food.

Spice Buddy Den & Grill on Sept. 14 celebrated its one-year anniversary in Pearland. (Courtesy Spice Buddy Den & Grill)
Spice Buddy Den & Grill celebrates one-year anniversary in Pearland

Spice Buddy Den & Grill on Sept. 14 celebrated its one-year anniversary in Pearland.

Arlan's Market closed a variety of locations, including one in Magnolia in 2019. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)
Arlan's Market in Oak Ridge North closing in October

According to the store, everything at Arlan's Market is 50% off, except for water. 

The first-ever Williamson County Fair and Rodeo opens its gates to guests Oct. 21 with live music, carnival rides, food vendors, rodeo events and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo underway; delivery drones coming to Friso and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 22.

Through a May district survey with more than 13,000 responses from parents, staff, students and members of the community, KISD established the community’s priorities for the federal funding, which directed a significant portion toward addressing learning loss and mental health through 2023. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
KISD to put federal funds toward learning loss, mental health

The district was allocated $102.4 million in ESSER funding—not including the funds that will go toward the state’s hold-harmless policy.

Nan and Company Properties held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Sugar Land office on Oct. 1. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Real estate firm Nan and Company Properties opens Sugar Land office

Nan and Company Properties represents residential buying, selling and leasing clients and offers developer, builder and relocation services.

Want to know more about new businesses coming to the Katy area? Below you can find details on the five latest commercial projects filed in Katy. (Courtesy Canva)
Here are the 5 latest commercial projects filed in Katy, including new Cheesecake Factory

Want to know more about new businesses coming to the Katy area? Below you can find details on the five latest commercial projects filed in Katy.

Simply Greek serves gyros and more. (Courtesy Simply Greek)
Simply Greek opens two new locations in Cy-Fair

The eatery opened a new location off Grant Road last month and another in the Copperfield area this week.

Read more below for the latest five projects that have been filed in the Sugar Land and Missouri City area. (Courtesy Canva)
Here are the 5 latest commercial projects filed in the Sugar Land and Missouri City area, including new Dutch Bros Coffee

Check out the five latest commercial projects filed in Sugar Land and Missouri City.

The EpiCenter, a multipurpose facility, will seat 10,400 people and will be used for rodeo events, sports tournaments and graduations. (Rendering courtesy Fort Bend County)
Construction on Fort Bend County EpiCenter to begin before year’s end

Located in Rosenberg near the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds on Hwy. 59, construction on the EpiCenter will last for 20 months, according to officials involved in the project.