Corps Watershed Study Could Help Prepare Region For The Next Harvey

The proposed study would provide the first comprehensive look at how storm water moves throughout all 22 of the regions watersheds, as well as how development in those watersheds contributes to flooding

As Houston and Harris County officials push for faster federal action on Harvey relief, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a study that could help the region prepare for future floods.

Previous Corps' studies have focused on individual watersheds. The Metropolitan Houston Regional Watershed Assessment would take a more comprehensive look at how rainwater, from increasingly extreme storms, moves throughout the region on its way down to Galveston Bay.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said the assessment is exactly what's needed. "I'm particularly interested in the various creeks and even ditches that have been covered over by development," said Emmett, "because as I've said over and over, Mother Nature has a long memory, and when you get a lot of water, it's going to want to go back to where it naturally used to flow."

The findings would help local, state and federal policymakers develop flood mitigation plans and improve drainage. "It really begs itself to be done with the rapid pace of development in the Houston area over the recent decades and the pace in which it will probably still grow driven by an energy economy," said Edmond Russo, deputy district engineer for programs and project management at the Corps' Galveston District.

The study will cost about $3 million. That could come as part of the Harvey relief package now awaiting action in the Senate. Once initiated, it will take about three years to complete.


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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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