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Harvey Close Calls: Building A Third Reservoir

Ways to reduce flooding? One idea has risen to the top of the to-do list

Philip Bedient, director of SSPEED Center

Many local officials and experts agree– in order to reduce the impact of another major flood– a third reservoir must be built.

There are currently two, both on the west side:  the Addicks and the Barker.

Phil Bedient is the head of the urban flooding and infrastructure program at Rice University.

“The only real hope we’ve got is to put a third reservoir up into the Katy prairie area,” he said. “There’s a couple of plans out there to evaluate where they add a reservoir to protect additional floods from feeding into Addicks.”

Bedient said he’s optimistic that Hurricane Harvey is providing the momentum for the county and city to push for construction quickly,  compared to what happened after big floods in the past.

“And I do believe we are at a turning point,” Bedient said. “Even more so than post Allison.”

But he said it comes down to who will pay for it.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett suggests the state. “It would cost about 5 percent of that rainy day fund for the state of Texas to just write a check and do it,” he said. 

Both Emmett and Bedient agree that building a third reservoir is just one piece of many projects that might mitigate flooding.

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