For the second time in one year, the Houston metropolitan area was flooded because of heavy rainfall. 240 billion gallons of water fell across the region; some areas had received 10-15 inches of rain. The flood took eight lives, caused more than $5 billion in property damages in Harris County alone, shut down 100 roads, caused 120.000 power outages, closed all schools and city buildings and many office buildings. Some Houstonians just finished the repairs from last year’s flooding and have to start all over again. Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for nine counties in and around the Houston area. And this won’t be the last time.
The general view of the city officials is that this historic flooding is beyond control. Houstonians and local media no longer take this opinion for granted and are taking serious steps to sue the City of Houston. The criticism by the media is focused on the lack of action to expedite big-picture flood improvement projects which allowed Houston’s flooding problems to continue. A lot of these flood improvement projects, even the ones to improve watersheds with an ‘extremely high risk of catastrophic failure tag’, are years and years behind on schedule. From the perspective of the Houstonians -reflected in the media- there’s a real call for help to control the water. Once again, the Dutch Delta works for Flood protection are mentioned and admired in the media.
Also in The Netherlands images of the dramatic rescues, flooded homes and floating cars in Houston were distributed by the media. In The Netherlands we are so used to being protected by dikes and the Delta Works nowadays, we don’t even worry about flooding’s like that. Also the Dutch people have learned it the hard way, but we gained a lot of knowledge on water management and with all this knowledge, the Dutch are experts on flood protection issues like the ones in Houston. Fortunately there are a few projects in which local universities partner with Dutch institutions and other strong partners to share knowledge to better understand how to protect Houston’s people, economy and environment from water.
However, we strongly believe that more help and knowledge sharing is needed, which creates opportunities for The Netherlands to make a real impact. If you believe your company can deliver valuable input in any way on water-management in the Houston area, we recommend you to contact our NBSO-Texas office: www.nbso-texas.com.