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Commissioners Discuss New Flood Control Project Bookmark

Commissioners Discuss New Flood Control Project

When it comes to flood control, Harris County historically has focused on maintaining and expanding the county’s drainage infrastructure. Now, another option may be on the table.

When it comes to flood control, Harris County historically has focused on maintaining and expanding the county’s drainage infrastructure. Now, another option may be on the table.

Last month, Commissioners Court agreed to fund a joint study with the Harris County Flood Control District to research the practicality of using new technology to pump stormwater into underground aquifers in Precinct 4. The technology is meant to fight subsidence, which is the sinking of land caused by natural compaction or human activity, such as removing underground stores of water, oil, or gas. In Harris County, removing groundwater is the number one cause of subsidence.

In flat areas close to sea level, any drop in elevation can increase the likelihood of an area flooding. Subsidence can also cause costly infrastructure damage in developed areas as the ground shifts, damaging roads, sidewalks, and homes. According to the Harris Galveston Subsidence District, as much as 5 feet of subsidence has been measured in northwest Harris County from 1978 to 2000, making it the fastest sinking area in greater Houston. Since 2003, water resource managers in north and west Harris County have been required to submit groundwater reduction plans.

Commissioner Cagle said the county may consider additional options if studies show they are cost effective, reduce flooding, and will not contaminate the aquifers.

“This could be one more tool in our arsenal to fight flooding, but we won’t know until the study results come in,” he said. “A flood control project that could fight flooding, droughts, and subsidence all at once sounds amazing. If we ever experience another drought like we did in 2012, we’ll have the water there waiting for us.”



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