Citizens Call for Regional Oversight Based on Science, Transparency, and Enforcement
Jan. 17, 2017
A Houston group called Citizens Solutions to Flooding is circulating a petition calling for the creation of a long-overdue Houston-Galveston regional body to ensure that new construction and development does not increase flooding.
The petition focuses on the inadequacy and lack of enforcement of current regulations regarding stormwater drainage and detention. It calls for transparency in the permitting process and financial incentives for property owners to retrofit properties to conform to more effective standards for controlling stormwater running off impervious surface.
Houston’s natural tendency to flood has been greatly worsened by uncontrolled development and the proliferation of hard surface like parking lots, building rooftops, and roadways that rapidly collect and concentrate rainwater rather than slowing, absorbing, and dispersing it.
In calling for regional oversight, the petition notes that “watersheds know no county boundaries.” And development in one watershed can worsen flooding in another watershed.
Notably, the petition does not call for widening and deepening our bayous and streams, an outmoded, costly, ineffective, and environmentally damaging solution preferred by city and county engineers. More green space, not less, is the consensus of leading experts, including Phil Bedient, director of the SSPEED storm center at Rice University.