WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, Representative Ted Poe (TX-02) along with Reps. Brian Babin (TX-36), John Culberson (TX-07), Al Green (TX-09), Gene Green (TX-29), and Pete Olson (TX-22) introduced the bipartisan Texas Flood Accountability Act of 2017, requiring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Jacinto River Authority, and City of Houston, among others to submit a report within 90 days for all dams, reservoirs, lakes and other water retention facilities in the Southeast Texas region. This bill requires that these entities report on the water capacity, overflow levels, notification processes during flood emergencies, and recommendations to prevent future unplanned releases of water from the facilities. Failure to submit this information will result in a loss of federal funding to the facility.
“It is high time that the people of Texas are given answers,” said Rep. Poe. “While 50 inches of rain will substantially impact any city, the people of Texas are left wondering what improvements to existing facilities could have prevented some of the severe flooding that occurred. We cannot move forward until we figure out exactly what went wrong and whether it can happen again. We must not only improve our existing infrastructure but take the steps necessary to build one or even two additional reservoirs. The Texas Flood Accountability Act will give Texans affected during Harvey answers to these questions and help them to move forward with the recovery process.”
“I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing the Texas Flood Accountability Act. This bill is an important first step in reviewing policies and procedures regarding the operation of dams and reservoirs and how to best manage them in a way that leads to less flooding,” said Rep. Babin.
“Last week, my staff and I volunteered to help Houstonians cleanup their flooded homes," said Rep. Culberson. "Many of those residents described the heartbreaking experience of watching water rise in their house upon the release of the Addicks and Barker dams. While the controlled release of the dams saved much of the Houston area from flooding, it left these Houstonians with several feet of water in their homes. This legislation will require the Army Corps of Engineers to study Houston area water retention infrastructure, including the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, to improve understanding and provide recommendations, so we can improve our flood mitigation infrastructure and prevent this level of destruction in the future.“
“I’m pleased to join Congressman Poe and the Houston Congressional Delegation on the Texas Flood Accountability Act. We need to be proactive and invest in our flood control infrastructure to prevent the next hurricane from flooding our communities in Houston and along the Texas Gulf Coast," said Rep. Gene Green.
The Texas Flood Accountability Act will mandate that the Army Corps of Engineers submit a report to Congress within 90 days for all dams, reservoirs, lakes and other water retention facilities in Texas that describes:
1. The minimum water capacity that would necessitate a unplanned water release
2. The water level that the facility would “top out” or overflow
3. Existing plans in place to notify first responders, local officials, and communities of flood emergencies and projected water levels during such emergencies
4. Recommendations for infrastructure improvements and dredging for covered facilities needed to prevent future unplanned releases of water
5. Existing plans to coordinate among regional facilities during a flooding emergency
The legislation would require information to be provided from the San Jacinto River Authority which operates Lake Conroe, the City of Houston which operates Lake Houston, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers which operates Addicks and Barker reservoirs.