Flood Control

Drake Drymond, Reporter

Recently flooding struck Houston again, in which the Langham Creek area was hit with 6 inches of rain in just 4 hours.  It was a historic rain that brought back memories of the flooding a year ago that produced 16 inches of rain and flooded 810 houses. Although this year’s flood wasn’t as destructive, many people were still affected.

While a common public belief is that continued construction, and development is the cause of flooding; the officials at the Harris County Flood Control District disagree.

Historically, Houston is a flat area that doesn’t require very much rain to flood.

“It doesn’t take much rain water, because the water can’t run-off fast enough,” Department Manager at Harris County Flood Control District Carl Woodward said.

A history of flooding has shown Houston is constantly at risk; but floods the past few years have been storms of epic proportions.

“This was an unprecedented rainfall…it has a 0.1 percent chance of doing this in any given year…this doesn’t occur very often,” Mr. Woodward said.

During last year’s storm the Langham Creek area had over 16 inches of rainfall. Despite all the rainfall, the flood control district has many flood prevention systems, such as the storm sewer system. The underground system can only handle about a 2 inch rain fall.

“Anything over a 2 inch rain is going to come up in the streets and flood,” Mr. Woodward said.

But the flood control district uses many other methods to limit the effects of flooding. When a new establishment or building is designed the company partners with the flood control district to create a plan to limit flood risks.

“We regulate development,” Mr. Woodward said.

One of them is a detention pond.  The pond is typically a large deep trench made in order to hold water, then eventually drain it out.  The flood control district has many other methods, but they mitigate the flooding, and its damage through regulating development.

Overall, despite 2,500 miles if channels Houston continues to flood, but the Harris County Flood Control District continues to develop and improve their plan to mitigate the effects of flooding.