Houston Stormwater Infrastructure Falls Short in Recent Flooding

Recent floods in Texas, especially prevalent in Houston, reflect a stormwater infrastructure that both worked as it's designed and is in need of improvements.
June 3, 2015, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Like a lot of residents of the Houston area, local highway officials just had to let water do its thing when it came to clearing some local highways during recent rains," according to an article by Dug Begley.

Begley quotes Karen Othon, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Houston office, directly in explaining last week's massive flooding across Texas: "With the detention ponds and bayous full, there was nowhere for the water to go."

"After the waters receded, transportation officials said they believed that inlets and pumps that keep freeways from flooding worked, except in certain flood-prone spots that had not undergone significant repairs. However, the heavy rains were a little more than the systems could handle."

The flooding, as innocent as these explanations makes it seem, wreaked havoc on commutes and property left inundated as the rains fell and the region's stormwater infrastructure struggled to keep up. As explained in the article, however, the top priority for the region's infrastructure is to keep homes clear of the flooding—not roadways. Othon also told Begley that planned highway improvements underway by the TxDOT will correct many of the problem flooding encountered in recent storms.

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Published on Monday, June 1, 2015 in Houston Chronicle
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