Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018TX518B

Evaluating the impact of the Katy Prairie and adding HCAD Plan 5 Reservoir on Flooding of Addicks and Barker Reservoirs in Houston, Texas

Institute: Texas
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,000

Principal Investigators: Philip Bedient, Ferne Maulsby

Abstract: In recent decades, rapid urbanization and the increased frequency of extreme rainfall events along the Texas Coast have challenged the integrity and storage capacity of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in Houston, Texas. In August 2017, unprecedented volumes of rainfall due to Hurricane Harvey caused water levels in the two reservoirs to surpass their design capacity and inundate thousands of homes within the reservoir boundaries. This hazardous and costly flood event has emphasized the need to improve ageing flood infrastructure for the regions near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in order to protect residents in Houston. This study aims to quantify the effect of Harris County’s Plan 5, a proposal for an additional reservoir upstream of Addicks and Barker reservoirs, compared to the natural depression storage of the Katy Prairie, on the overland flows into Addicks and Barker reservoirs. A suite of Radar Rainfall and Lidar datasets serve as inputs for hydrologic models and GIS mapping applications. These models determine the floodplains within Addicks and Barker reservoirs for the outlined flood mitigation structures. Results of this study will inform policy makers of the impacts of the Katy Prairie and the Plan 5 reservoir on flood prevention in nearby communities.