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ICYMI, Houston’s Judge Emmett wants real results for flood control in Houston, and he means now AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett makes his suggestion to turn the Astrodome into the world's largest indoor park during a press conference at the historic domed stadium Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, in Houston. Emmett said his idea would include spaces for festivals and other gatherings, as well as hiking, biking and fitness trails on the stadium's upper levels. He had no cost estimate or firm plan for its funding, though he suggested creating private-public partnerships to pay for it. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

AP Associated Press, publish date 3:55 p.m Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017

The Houston area should have a new reservoir, fix aging reservoirs and complete long-sought bayou and creek flood control projects as part of 15 recommendations from the top elected official in Harris County to prevent future flooding like Hurricane Harvey.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said all levels of local state, federal and government need to begin moving on regional solutions before the “sense of urgency created by Harvey” fades.

“We really need to take ownership of flood control,” he said.

RELATED: Outline of Harvey’s Political Impact Begins to Take Shape

Emmett’s proposals announced this week include adding a third reservoir to the northwestern part of the county, making improvements to the existing two reservoirs where water releases were needed after they were filled by the record rains from Harvey and completing flood control projects on several creeks and bayous where levees were overwhelmed by the August storm.

The Houston area should have a new reservoir, fix aging reservoirs and complete long-sought bayou and creek flood control projects as part of 15 recommendations from the top elected official in Harris County to prevent future flooding like Hurricane Harvey.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said all levels of local state, federal and government need to begin moving on regional solutions before the “sense of urgency created by Harvey” fades.

“We really need to take ownership of flood control,” he said.

Emmett’s proposals announced this week include adding a third reservoir to the northwestern part of the county, making improvements to the existing two reservoirs where water releases were needed after they were filled by the record rains from Harvey and completing flood control projects on several creeks and bayous where levees were overwhelmed by the August storm.

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Other recommendations include an improved flood warning system and evacuation plans; updating and revising flood maps; buying out homes repeatedly flooded or within the 100-year flood plain; and installing automatic barriers at flood-prone underpasses to prevent drownings.

Jim Blackburn, an environmental lawyer and co-director of Rice University’s center for Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters, said Emmett’s proposals are excellent but lack money.

“The question is how is he going to do it?” Blackburn said.

Emmett said he would lobby state and federal officials. He and several Harris County commissioners also have said they’d support a bond issue that could raise more than $1 billion for flood control projects.

Craig Doyal, the county judge in Montgomery County, immediately north of Houston, said Emmett’s idea of a regional response and control is worth visiting.

“What happens in Montgomery County is, obviously, going to have an impact on Harris County,” Doyal said. “I think we need to at least recognize what impact we have on our neighbors.”

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Harvey led to 36 deaths in Harris County and its flooding damaged an estimated 156,000 dwellings, or more than 10 percent of those in the county database, according to the flood control district for the county.

RELATED: Was there a “Harvey conspiracy” between politicians and media? Texas Monthly seems to think so

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