Preventing Houston Floods – Pay Now or Pay Later
HOUSTON (Aug. 22, 2016) — Congressional District 7 has experienced some of the worst flooding in Texas – especially when Brays Bayou overflows its banks. This includes communities like Meyerland, Braeswood and Willowbend, and some communities in the Cy-Fair area. Every year, we experience another 100-year and 500-year flood, and people die. Every year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) spends billions for damages and property loses. There is nothing that FEMA can do to bring back the lives lost.
If elected, I will ensure that the US Army Corps of Engineers are fully funded so they can get back on schedule with widening Brays Bayou and repairing Barker and Addicks Dams, which are in extremely critical condition.
The US Army Corps of Engineers are responsible for funding improvements and widening of Brays Bayou so it can handle the volume of water being moved there. This Federal agency is 8 years behind schedule and $34 million short of what it needs to finish Project Brays. The devastating floods on Memorial Day2015 and Tax Day 2016 would not have devastated Congressional District 7 if the Corps of Engineers completed Project Brays on schedule in 2014.
Additionally, the two dams protecting Buffalo Bayou, Barker and Addicks, were declared to be at “extremely high risk” of failure under ordinary operations back in 2009. In April 2016, Addicks held back a record 103.2 feet of water and Barker held back a record 97.7 feet of water. This only represents 50% of their designed capacity, which shouldn’t be cause for concern. But it was of great concern because Congress has not appropriated funds to adequately repair them.
The one hope for Houston is that Democratic Congressman Al Green (TX-9) has introduced HR 5025 asking Congress to immediately appropriate $311 million to the Corps of Engineers to repair Barker and Addicks Dams, finish Project Brays, and other underfunded flood control projects in the Harris County area. Why didn’t our Congressman introduce and pass this legislation years ago? Before the water and FEMA checks rained down on Harris County.
Houstonians don’t want another check from FEMA. Our Federal budget cannot afford to keep paying Texas for flood damage. Rather, Houstonians expect their Congressman to fully fund the Corps of Engineers so they can get back on schedule and prevent flooding. Paying now will prevent paying more later – and most importantly it will save lives