Most of Texas' flood plain maps, including Fort Bend County's, are based on 50-year-old rainfall data, according to an investigative report by the Houston Chronicle.
In Fort Bend's case, flood modeling is based on rainfall averages computed in 1961 to calculate the 100-year flood plain. Any old-timer, though, knows that the worst drought in Texas history lasted from 1949 to 1957, Texas' driest period in 600 years. Lower rainfall averages, though, lead to smaller flood plains, more land development and fewer homeowners buying flood insurance.
Those eight years of drought likely distorted rainfall expectations, which means so-called 500-year rain events like the Memorial Day 2015 and Tax Day 2016 floods are likely far more common than we think.
In the past 3 years, we have experienced two consecutive years of 500 year floods and just recently an 800 year flood. 1800 years of flooding in 3 years.
A mix of federal, state and local officials is responsible for updating flood maps, but it's an expensive process. Congress promised the Federal Emergency Management Agency $200 million to update the nation's maps but then cut the funding and slowed progress. The Texas Legislature has declined to pay for new maps, and county officials certainly don't have the money.
Has LUAC considered following the City of Houston’s innovative ideas of encouraging more permeable spaces?
The recently renovated One Allen Center on the west side of downtown opened. The park contains a wide-open plaza and a linear lawn.
The company created the park prior to Hurricane Harvey, primarily to attract a new generation of tenants in innovative businesses. But a national parks expert said that such small civic gestures can have significant environmental benefits, especially when they are multiplied many times across cities.
"There's no space too small to create the benefits of parks,"said Adrian Benepe, director of civic park development at the Washington, D.C.-based Trust for Public Land. "Private property owners have to be part of the solution."
Even an acre of"green infrastructure" can make a positive difference for the environment: Trees enhance air quality and reduce heat islands, also improving storm-water absorption.
Much of the above information has been taken from the Houston Chronicle