The city of Houston and its surrounding areas was unequipped for the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Despite have several reservoirs and flood plains designed to absorb excessive rain, Houston found itself inundated under the impact of a storm that should only happen every 500 years. The results of that impact were seen on televisions across America as residents hurried from their homes, either wading through waist high waters or leaving by boat.
Sugar Land took some of the hit and reported 250 flooded homes across the city.
Although debris cleanup as completed back in October, the city has still struggled with the aftermath of the storm. In particular, city planners have been busy trying to figure out ways that such a flood can be prevented in the future.
To help address the issue, the Sugar Land City Council has entered into partnerships with both the Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 11 and the Greatwood Community Association. Together, these organizations intend to address the maintenance of a drainage infrastructure in the hopes of preventing the worst effects of torrential rains.
The partnership will work to ensure that the area’s drainage infrastructure, which includes its inlets, catch basins, storm manholes, pipes, and outfalls, are all constantly maintained. This will require that these various parts of the infrastructure are routinely inspected to make sure they’re clear. Cleaning will be necessary from time to time, and wholesale replacement of some sections of the infrastructure will have to occur when defects are found. The hope is that, should another extreme downpour occur, the maintained infrastructure will more effectively drain away any excess water.
Sugar Land city officials believe that previous efforts at cleaning and maintenance helped to prevent flooding in parts of the city, which is why they have approved the new project. Part of the overall effort to reduce flooding in the city includes new drainage studies into various parts of the city and research into the effects of erosion around the Brazos River area. By compiling data from around Sugar Land, the city hopes to identify other areas of need that can be addressed in future land improvements.
Independent of the work the city has done, various efforts have been made to help the area recover from the worst effects of the storm. In January, the Sugar Land Home & Garden Show had experts discussing the best ways to recover and rebuild once the storm was over. These discussions involved reviewing ways of preventing negative effects from future extreme weather.
FEMA has also been present in Sugar Land to discuss ways to prevent and reduce damage from various natural disasters, including extreme rain. These talks have included discussions of flood insurance and ways to rebuild when a home is flooded. Between the efforts of the city to improve its infrastructure and the discussions happening around town about how to avoid flooding, it’s hoped that Sugar Land residents can avoid another flooding disaster like the one they experienced during Harvey.