According to the Texas Tribune, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and a number of Texas Republican leaders are eying a number of long-delayed flood projects that, had they been completed, would have spared thousands of Houston homes from being flooded during the deluge brought on by Hurricane Harvey.
Included on the wish list is a third federally-funded reservoir to help contain flood waters. The two existing ones, Addicks and Barker, were filled so high during the rain storms brought on by Harvey that the water had to be released in a controlled fashion in order to avoid a dam breach. The release flooded numerous homes in Houston’s northwest neighborhoods that had escaped the ravages of the Harvey rainstorm.
Patrick would also like to expedite a long-term project to deepen and broaden Houston’s numerous bayous designed to carry floodwaters to the Gulf of Mexico. The bayous overflowed, inundating nearby streets and housing. Some homes had flooded three times in as many years from previous rainstorms and now Harvey. The overall cost is estimated to be $25 billion.
The last project being considered is the so-called “Ike Dike” that was first proposed after Hurricane Ike in 2008. The Ike Dike would consist of a series of sea walls and levees that would protect low-lying areas south of Houston from a storm surge when a hurricane hits the area. The cost of the system has been pegged for just under $6 billion.
Flood control projects have been stymied by concerns over cost and the question of whether the state or the federal government should pay for them. However, it looks like Harvey, at least for now, has focused some minds in Austin and Washington. Whether that means that funding and construction will actually be expedited remains to be seen.
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