Photo courtesy Texas Tribune/Stan Cook

This is a must-read for anyone with a little real estate in their blood, and it is very interesting as a reference to anyone living near the Golf Club of Dallas (formerly the Oak Cliff Country Club).

Basic story: 200 acre golf course in a coastal community 30 miles southeast of Houston saved about 150 homes from flooding in during Harvey. Why? The Clear Lake City Water Authority had embarked on a $28 million project to retrofit a shuttered golf course with five detention ponds that will be able to hold half a billion gallons of stormwater. At the time Harvey hit, the project was only 80% complete. But still, it worked.

When you are an advocate for dense, urban living, you have to consider water. Houston is in the thick of this lesson, and though we in Dallas are about 300 miles from the ocean, we can find a few nuggets of truth here:

As a post-Harvey Houston figures out how to protect itself from the next big storm, he and other local officials say they hope the project will serve as an example of how communities can take matters into their own hands as they await the completion of large-scale flood control projects. 

Branch said the nearly 200-acre golf course was coveted real estate in a flood-prone area that likely would have been turned into condos. But he said developing the land would have worsened flooding in the coastal community about 30 miles southeast of downtown Houston — home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. 

The water authority wanted to reduce area flooding and keep the area “green,” he said. It purchased the land in 2011 for about $6 million. 

A nonprofit group, the Exploration Green Conservancy, formed to partner with the water authority to reimagine the space as a community park situated around the detention ponds. Some residents have pushed back against the project, but Branch said support has remained strong to keep the project moving forward.

flood

Texas National Guard soldiers arrive in Houston on August 27, 2017, to aid residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. (Texas Army National Guard photo)

As the devastation Hurricane Harvey wrought two weeks ago becomes devastatingly clearer and flood waters slowly recede, many have asked: What would a similar flood look like in my neighborhood?  

And could something like this happen in Dallas? (more…)

If you forgot Dallas’ torrential weekend rains, Monday’s return certainly brought those memories … flooding back.

What’s up with that?  It’s not like rain is something new to Dallas.  Sure, depending on whether your beliefs are fact- or fiction-based, climate change may be making rains heavier, but we’ve always had deluge-type rain (when we’re not in drought).

So why does this city flood like it’s never seen a drop of water? Why do we have to repeat, “turn around, don’t drown” and mean it when the water is coming up to the running board of the SUV? There are many reasons, some just mother nature, some brought on by neglect and — shocker — our city’s indifference to infrastructure.

(more…)