A billion dollars in flood work completed, but far from done, says Harris County Flood District

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Floyd Tucker's home flooded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. He was among the countless Houstonians who saw the waters rise and couldn't do anything to stop it.

"During Harvey, it was just a demolition derby," Tucker said. "It was chaos over here. "

More than four and a half years later, there is a massive project along Hunting Bayou across from his house, but he worries it is not enough because of aging drainage ditches that have not been maintained.

"Water is settling in these ditches," Tucker said. "It's like three or four feet high. "

Along with Houston's network of bayous, there is work. Project after project intended to contain the water or send it into Galveston Bay without flooding neighborhoods like Floyd Tucker's.

The Harris County Flood Control District makes sure the water never gets into the neighborhoods.

"We have spent close to a billion dollars out of a five billion dollar bond program that will reduce the risk of flooding for many thousands of homes all around the county," said Alan Black, an engineer with the Harris County Flood Control District.

"That's what we're focusing on and working on to expand, widen, and deepen those channels and build large storm water detention basins to ensure we don't transfer the risk of flooding to another area. "

The HFCD is not responsible for the drainage along city streets, however. And despite all of the money spent on large projects, residents like Floyd Tucker aren't worried about the water coming into the neighborhood. They're worried about it not being able to drain.

"I'd like to see them come out and clean the ground and keep them clean," Tucker said.

He is not alone in his concerns.

"They need clear channel drainage," said president of the Kashmere Gardens super neighborhood, Keith Downey.

Downey is pleased with Harris County and the flood control district's work to ease the flooding concerns. But he wonders if it's enough.

"The county has done a lot of work, and they're putting investments into this community with Hunting Bayou," Downey said. "But what about Greens Bayou? What about Halls Bayou?"

Take a look at the county's website, and it reveals dozens upon dozens of flood mitigation projects in all parts of the region. They are just twenty percent through the $5 billion bond program approved in 2018.

"We still have a lot of work," Alan Black said. "Fortunately, now we're seeing many projects go into the construction phase, which is the phase that the public is interested in seeing, where the rubber hits the road."

"We see the bulk of this problem in these areas," said Huey German-Wilson, who leads the neighboring Trinity Houston Gardens super neighborhood. "We have learned to live with the open drainage ditches. Some people love them, and some people hate them. They've done a lot of work on the bayou system but not on these open ditches, so our community will probably suffer the same fate, if not worse. "

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