Eddie is spot on. And there’s a taxpayer funded study, post- Harvey, that seems to confirm it. At the rate of inflows seen during Harvey, even had Lake Houston been lowered 8 ft to 34.5 ft days in advance as a precaution, it would’ve dropped the peak flood level by only 0.4 ft. Harvey produced enough inflow to fill the entire lake 9 times over."... none of the configurations analyzed (lower pool levels due to prerelease) would have dramatically reduced the inundation extents for the areas around Lake Houston. In addition, the majority of the reduction was due to the additional spillway capacity of the added gates during the flooding and not from the additional storage provided by the advanced lowering of the lake prior to the flooding. The reason for this is that the total flow volume of a very large event, like the flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey, is several times the volume of the lake itself and many times the volume of the initial storage reduction. This storage is refilled early in the storm and the initial difference is typically lost well before the peak of the flood. Therefore, the risk associated with releasing the water supply in advance of the flooding is not justified when compared to the very limited benefits associated with a lower starting lake level."
Read it and judge for yourself: http://www.houstontx.gov/council/e/kingwood/lake-houston-interim-findings.pdf
. Our elected officials have no problem using this report to seek tens of millions of dollars in funding for the Lake Houston dam project. We should heed its guidance.
If the City ordered the level lowered to begin immediate dredging upstream, fantastic! Show us the contracts. Are they substantive? Fully funded? Is there a clear timeline for completion? A bobcat here and a track hoe there won’t get the job done.
I feel for these folks upstream that flooded earlier this year. But surely it doesn’t require the entire lake to be sacrificed—property value, reputation, safety, recreation, wildlife—from March to November. And if it does, we at least deserve a quantifiable basis for the decision. How much property are we “saving”?