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Developments Surrounding Houston's Distressed Dams

The Houston Chronicle continues a series of feature articles about the persistent flooding of the region. The latest installment examines the tenuous position of the Addicks and Barker dams.
September 6, 2016, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Standing flood waters over roads and fields at the Addicks Reservoir in Houston, Texas on May 30, 2015.
CaseyMartin

Lauren Caruba tells the story of the Addicks and Barker dams in Houston, "each seven decades old and rated seven years ago by the Corps among the nation's six most unsafe dams."

"Addicks and Barker were built to protect the heart of the city by controlling the flow of water along Buffalo Bayou. Things haven't gone as planned," according to Caruba, as homes, highways, and businesses have surrounded the dams.

"What's at stake is the safety of the nation's fourth-largest city. If the dams failed, half of Houston would be underwater. Under the worst scenario at Addicks, property damages could reach $22.7 billion and 6,928 people could die," writes Caruba.

The feature length article includes a lot more detail about the condition and history of the dams, the ongoing, temporary repairs, and the future of the dams. On that latter point, the fate of the dams depends on the planning decisions made around the dams, and "in March the Harris County Flood Control District issued new criteria for developers in the Addicks, Barker and Cypress Creek watersheds."

The article is the latest installment of the "Swamped" series.

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Published on Friday, September 2, 2016 in Houston Chronicle
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