It’s been a little over a week since the major flooding Houston and surrounding suburbs experienced. With an inundation of 17 inches of rain over just 24 hours, hardly anyone can blame the area for not being prepared. A typical rainfall for the entire month of April is just under 3.5 inches. That’s a fifth of what fell in just one day. It’d be difficult to argue that any amount of preparation could have alleviated the Houston flood.
However, some have mixed feelings about whether Houston’s situation is one of sustainability. “Bayou Land Conservancy says that filling the wetlands has “directly” resulted in an increase of flooding” as told to The Houston Chronicle.
Solutions to Future Flooding?
Is it better to go taller rather than wider? With expansive, sprawling development in Houston and its surrounding areas, some are concerned that this is just the beginning of a long-term flood situation. Others state that if developers are considerate, flooding shouldn’t continue to be an issue, even with higher population. Some of the solutions to this potential problem include “densifying.” This would mean building taller rather than wider–typically in the form of large apartment and condominium buildings. Houston is expecting a flux of residents over the next 20 years. However, people typically vying for a spot in Texas aren’t craving living in an apartment without a yard and into a condo; instead, they desire to have a little bit of land, even if it is close to neighbors. So, while densifying in theory is possible, it’s not a probable solution.
“We need to use land wisely and concentrate development to provide affordable housing and infrastructure services, and protect open space.” -Bayou Land Conservancy
Other solutions are eco-fr
iendly in nature, and come as suggestions from the Bayou Land Conservancy. One idea is to plant more trees as a mature tree can lift 100 gallons of water out of the soil, returning it to the air. A second suggestion is to plant native plants, and rip out the more used St Augustine lawn. Many suggestions are rather basic–switch away from single use water bottles and plastic bags that often end in storm drains, clogging and leading to floors. A project that would insure a “flood-proof” Houston though takes more than a couple people planting trees and relies on the city as a whole. While Houston may not be expecting another flood in the foreseeable future, it’s a major consideration as it continues to grow and develop.
Okay, but how can I help now? In the meantime, if you’re looking for a way to help those affected by the flood, you can look here to help. Salvation Army is providing meals, and the Red Cross is looking for volunteers in the Houston area.