The Harris County Commissioners are currently researching an innovative new flood plan that will reportedly solve several problems at once. This new plan, if put into effect, will be focused in Precinct 4, which covers the Cypress, Spring, Willow Flats, and Tomball areas. Since this potential project is still in the research phase, the details are not set in stone yet. Let’s take a look at what commissioners do know about this flood control plan.
Partnership Researching New Technology
This flood control technology is relatively new. Essentially, a system like the one currently being researched utilizes flood waters, pumping them into underground aquifers. In March, a joint effort was proposed and both the Harris County Commissioners Court and the Harris County Flood Control District agreed to work together to fund the necessary research for this project.
Innovative Flood Control System Combats Three Separate Issues
The primary purpose of this project would be to control flooding in Precinct 4 when water levels are high, accomplishing this by pumping flood waters into underground aquifers. However, in doing this, such a flood control system could potentially fight three problems at once: Not just flooding, but also subsidence and low water supplies during droughts.
In theory, water pumped underground during floods can be saved in those aquifers, collecting until it is needed. Then, when water levels elsewhere are low, these vast stores of water could be tapped to provide Houston with as much water as needed.
In the meantime, when the stored floodwater is not being used to supplement the city water supply, the water could serve as an underground support system to help reduce subsidence in Houston. Harris County is a swiftly sinking county and there are many reasons for that — human activity, which causes compaction, the removal of oil, gas and water, leaving voids in the ground. The subsidence of Harris County is largely caused by groundwater supplies that have decreased sharply as the Houston has grown. Subsidence is particularly prevalent in the northwestern section of the county where, between 1978 and 2000, the ground has lowered by up to five feet, putting some areas at a slightly elevated risk for additional flooding.
Keep an eye out for new data on this project to be published. This exciting new technology, if proven viable and implemented, could put Harris County at the forefront of flood control innovation on the world stage.