Comment of the Day: The More West Houston Floods, The More It Stays The Same

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE MORE WEST HOUSTON FLOODS, THE MORE IT STAYS THE SAME “Why does it matter? Even after the flood, I am okay with them building there on private land. Flood risk is just one of a million things that you should look at when buying a home. Heck, even knowing what we know now, I might still buy there in the right situation. If I was looking to buy a home in that general area, and the only way I can get one is to build one on the far back end of the reservoir, I would still do it today. Even after we calibrate the models to include the recent rainfall events, we will still find that this is an outlier.” [Rex, commenting on How It Came To Pass That Hundreds of Families Purchased Homes Inside Houston’s Reservoirs; previously on Swamplot] Map of subdivisions in or along the edge of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs: ProPublica

10 Comment

  • Why does it matter? Because we live in the United States of America, usually considered one of the most civilized and developed countries in the world. If you want to live in a city with no land use regulations and people can build everywhere including floodplains and water courses, move to Rio de Janeiro or Mumbai. It’s just lovely there, so much freedom!

  • Some people are okay living inside a reservoir, just like some people are ok living in highrises built with flammable materials or on water systems with lead pipes. But for the other 98% of the population, these sorts of things should be banned outright, and you shouldn’t have to read all the fine print on a plat map to find out about it.
    Ever since the editor change a year or two ago, the “Comment of the Day” selection has been really pitiful, with the most extreme and retrograde comments favored over sensible, thoughtful posts. Too bad.

  • @ ShadyHeightster: Oh trust me, there’s no such thing as freedom anywhere in the world except that which an individual can carefully and deliberately carve out for themselves; and even then one must wonder at whether what they perceive as being theirs is actually theirs or just another mechanism of control and entrapment. What we call a “civilized” society usually has many such layers, and it is not always entirely clear whether the elite of society or its poorest dregs have the most freedom in absolute terms.

  • Yeah, screw it. Let’s just open up that Brio superfund site for construction. In fact, in the true spirit of capitalism, we could let developers build new developments with lowland areas and highland areas. The lowland areas would be heavily discounted because they would detain all the flood waters to keep the highland areas from flooding. The developers could then charge a hefty premium for the highland areas. That way developers would not have to waste space with those silly lakes everywhere. For all we know, people in Houston may start to like flooding and have fun with it. Bass boats are not that expensive and can be a fun way to get around to visit your neighbors during a flood. After each flood, have a demo party and have all your friends over to pull drywall out. Families get to spend quality time together throwing all their worldly possession on the curb for disposal. And all the debris could just be thrown into the Bay. Voila! Ike Dike! Ah, the miracle of markets.

  • Back in the 1930s-40s the federal govt probably decided that they would leave any decisions to build in an area with a 500 year flood controlled release scenario to the local govt. Today people have a nanny-state federal system to blame for their lack of due diligence. I expect a settlement is forthcoming in the near future.

  • “Calibrate the models”? Meaning re-calibrate the flood plain(s)?

  • I’d agree, it’s perfectly fine for people to be able to take the risk and choose for themselves, EXCEPT:
    – up until taxpayers are expected to fund and prop up the national flood insurance program
    – spend $MMs for ermergency personnel to perform evacuations & road closures, work overtime, etc. etc
    – spend $MMs to haul off the excess waste and garbage
    – etc. etc. etc.
    The reason is it’s impossible for the government not to pick up the tab and subsidise the risks when people end up living in disaster prone areas whether on their own accord or not.
    It’s inefficient and wasteful spending for all parties involved.

  • Is there a chance the Feds, county and city just werent talking to each other? No expert here, but the Feds control the reservoirs, TXDOT controls 99, and the city controls buildings permits. If the flood elevation remain static, while things like a big concrete loop around the city, and thousands of concrete foundations, change the drainage and flow of water. This seems like a case of the government right hand not talking to the government left hand.

  • Who is John Galt?

  • @ShadyHeightster We can run around stopping people from living somewhere every time some rare event occurs. 7 People have been murdered in the greater midtown area in the last 2 years, should we stop people from living there too?
    @Mike @Old School Yall are talking about totally different risk. No one died from the flooding homes behind the reservoir.
    @anon22 “Calibrate the models” meaning the probability of the rainfall event ie “100 year flood”. According to the current models and depending on which rainfall total you use it is been said “800 to 1000 year flood” which I am conceding is unreasonable. Current models have not yet been adjusted to include the recent extreme events.