On Jan. 21, 2018, the Galveston District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) advocated producing a comprehensive study of flooding in the Houston, Texas, metropolitan area after Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and other major flooding events in the last few years.
The study, dubbed the Metropolitan Houston Regional Watershed Assessment, would look at flood control from several angles, including drainage systems, the effects of climate change and widespread urban paving.
Edmond Russo, deputy district engineer for programs and project management for the USACE’s Galveston District, told the Houston Chronicle, which originally reported this story, that the study would take a look at the “frequency, distribution and magnitude” of rainfall trends given recent severe weather and whether the Houston region’s development sprawl has had a “cumulative effect” on increasing flood risks downstream. The report will likely include action plans using green technologies, porous concrete, and retrofits of drainage pipes and basins.
The assessment requires congressional approval. The U.S. House of Representatives passed an $81 billion disaster-relief bill on Dec. 21, 2017, but it is yet to be taken up by the U.S. Senate. Language in the bill as to whether it would cover the estimated $3 million-dollar cost of the Houston-area study is not certain, although the bill in its current form would seem to include the Houston area as a prime target area.