Politicians call for system-wide flood prevention measures

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After two devastating floods in less than a year, Houstonians are calling for major actions to prevent future floods.

For Leah Rotenberg, cleaning a flood-damaged home is an all-too-familiar chore. Her Meyerland home flooded last May, and then again last Monday.

"You can't think about anything else because you don't know what the next step is," she told Eyewitness News.

She knows she doesn't have it as bad as some of her neighbors who'd moved back into their homes already, but she's beyond frustrated.

"They have to look at the whole system and fix it instead of moving one piece and screwing a different neighborhood," she said.

Rotenberg, a wife and mother of four, is asking the same question so many have after the second major flooding event in 11 months: Why is it happening?

Eric Berger, a meteorologist with Space City Weather, says the three key factors are proximity to the Gulf, low-lying flat topography and development.

"This will definitely happen again," he said. "Literally we've lost hundreds of square miles of wetlands areas that normally would have retained a lot of this water, they've been paved over."

But what is being done to lessen the impact?

Today Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee called together local, state and federal representatives, the Red Cross and the Army Corp of Engineers, showed them Greens Bayou, put them on a bus and argued for the first ever comprehensive, system-wide watershed assessment to fix the problem region-wide, not one issue at a time.

It would take 3 years and cost 3 million dollars.

"Now we want a seamless look at how the elements that we're talking about put us in this predicament," she explained.

We asked why it hasn't been done before. Nobody at the press conference wanted to point fingers, but they admitted two devastating floods in 11 months was the breaking point.

"You need to report this is an urgent mission," said Representative Jackson Lee. "Because it has not been done the way it should be done."

Maybe then Leah Rotenberg and her neighbors will get some answers.

"Who is going to want to work here, who is going to want to live here if you can't protect people in their homes?" she asked.
Related Topics:
newsweatherfloodingflash floodingsevere weatherHouston
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