With some people still waiting for high waters to recede and others clearing out their homes for the second or third time in two years, Houston faced unprecedented flooding from Harvey.
The repeated events, yet again, are leaving many wondering the same thing:
“What can Houston do to fix the flood problem?”
In an interview with the Texas Tribune, Houston ‘Flood Czar’ Stephen Costello said “over 60 percent of our infrastructure is beyond its useful life.”
In spite of Harvey’s wrath, money coming in from the federal government, nonprofit agencies, local charities and more, Houston may finally possess the funds to legitimately consider how to revitalize flood control.
One idea Costello put forward to make the most of this silver lining was for the city to buy up tracts of property especially prone to flooding, like those near a creek or bayou, and turn them into green space instead of housing.
With similar initiatives in the past, however, the city faced funding problems and people not wanting to leave their homes, even with an offer to be bought out.
This issue would likely become a problem once more if the initiative was tried again, but Costello persisted in his opinions of how cities like Houston need to “get creative” if they are going to institute effective flood control and avoid Harvey’s level of damage going forward.
Costello further outlined plans for a development task force, which he said will get started in October.
The team will be comprised of “developers, people that are representing some of the trade associations, engineers, landscape architects, bureaucrats like myself, as well as community people.”
With what many are describing as unchecked building being blamed for a lot of the recent flooding, part of their goal will be to address development regulations in Houston.
On Wednesday, according to the Chronicle, the Harris County Commissioners Court also said it would be open to passing a large flood control bond.
To the tune of $1 billion, the bond would be paid for via a tax increase and go toward repair of old or damaged infrastructure and neighborhood buyouts, like the one Costello discussed.
Of course, the initiative would require the Commissioners Court’s approval for the ballot.
Final passage would then be up to the voters.
Stay tuned, y’all.