Comment of the Day: Here Comes Your Periodic Reminder of Who’s Ahead in the Ongoing Competition Between Detention and Development

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HERE COMES YOUR PERIODIC REMINDER OF WHO’S AHEAD IN THE ONGOING COMPETITION BETWEEN DETENTION AND DEVELOPMENT “Looks like we’re in for a real wet weekend. It will be interesting to see if all the detention ponds constructed in the past 10 to 15 [years] combined with the loss of open land due to development results in net positive flood compared to events like Allison, Rita and Ike.” [Dana-X, commenting on Here Comes Harvey; Lone Star Flight Museum’s Opening Day; A Texas Castles Primer] Illustration: Lulu

6 Comment

  • I’m not sure if “Interesting” is the right word for it.
    And it’s not just about a competition between new development and new detention. In some cases – Meyerland – it seems like residential neighborhoods are actually being sacrificed to the floodwaters. The Texas Medical Center got hit bad in Tropical Storm Allison. Surprise surprise they started a major project to widen Brays Bayou through the TMC after that. But I suspect (and I’m not alone) that what they actually did is design the Bayou to take water slowly, and ensure that there’s plenty of capacity for TMC runoff. That means water backs up into neighborhoods upstream from the TMC on Brays Bayou – that’s Meyerland, Maplewood, my old home of Braeburn Valley….
    I’ve moved to Sugar Land since – my house is surrounded by levees. I’m worried – who isn’t. But if I was in Meyerland I’d be terrified. “Interested.” Not so much.

  • Houston is flat. Improvements in one area just force it somewhere else. One big balloon squeeze! It’s a never ending battle.

  • Only water detention basins will solve. They need to be everywhere there is a flooding problem. Zaw is right. Commercial properties don’t flood because they are designed to use neighborhoods as their detention basins. Fuck Turner, Parker and White allowing this shit policy to go on for so long. Of course, their campaign donors and andy Icken love it.

  • Can’t Houston be built with a very small slope pointing to the middle of the city, where we could dig a giant hole. Collect the water. Sell it to California.

  • Cody, I foresee a day when water is transported from the Great Lakes to California along current pipeline easements. Given to them, of course, since they are perpetually broke. It’s always funny to listen to Californians calling for secession.

  • Bear in mind, folks, that the specific outcomes in any give watershed will be a function of many factors, to include pre-storm soil saturation/moisture levels and specific upstream rainfall totals and the timing and intensity of that rain. This is a regional event only in the sense that the whole region is impacted; it is not equally a regional event in terms of wind, rainfall, or storm surge however. Each of those effects will vary a great deal over short distances, making storm-by-storm comparisons a little more complex than it may seem on the face of it.
    The issues with flooding in Meyerland are somewhat more exotic. First of all, just about all of the watershed that is upstream from it was developed in a time before there were strong flood control requirements, but secondly the area around Meyerland underwent a great deal of subsidence until about the 1990’s. It was so impacted that the topography and all of the infrastructure have been turned into a very shallow bowl shape. Obviously…that is bad. Flood control and subsidence have been major policy issues for over 20 years now, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on these efforts; it has done some good, but obviously land that had subsided in the 20th century is going to stay that way. The biggest wins have to do with subsidence and flooding that hasn’t happened, and course since it hasn’t happened it is hard for people to grok how important that effort has been.