Houston Floods – Addicks and Barker Reservoirs Prevented $5 Billion Damage

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston District officials estimate that the Addicks and Barker reservoirs prevented $5.1 billion in monetary damages during the major floods that hit Houston on 18 April.

Torrential rain fell across parts of Houston Metro area on 17 and 18 April. The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) estimated that a total of 240 billion gallons of rain fell over Harris County.

HCFCD say that rainfall amounts averaged 14 to 17 inches over northwest Harris County and Waller County with a large swath of the county receiving 5 to 10 inches.

Around 6,700 homes were damaged in Harris County and 300 in neighbouring Waller County, making the “Tax Day Flood” more damaging than last year’s Memorial Day flood.

However it could have been much worse, according to USACE officials. They say that the Addicks and Barker dams held back flood water preventing “approximately 24,000 structures from being damaged in Houston during this historic rain event”.

Dam Safety Program

Addicks and Barker reservoirs are located near the intersection of I-10 and State Highway 6, in an area considered to be in the upper watershed of Buffalo Bayou. They provide flood damage reduction along Buffalo Bayou downstream of the reservoirs and through the center of the City of Houston.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continually inspects all of its dams nationwide under its Dam Safety Program, a program that ensures all dams are designed, constructed, operated and maintained as safely and effectively as possible. The Corps’ Dam Safety Program provides a framework to ensure that both short and long term solutions are studied and applied and helps to ensure public safety for local communities.

HOUSTON (April 27, 2016) - David Byers, U.S Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District survey technician, and Jonathan Whitmire, USACE Galveston District survey party chief, take measurements of cement joints inside Addicks and Barkers dams as part of routine maintenance on the dams. Survey teams are currently working around-the-clock to mitigate the risk of flooding both above and below the reservoirs following several days of heavy rainfall. U.S. Army photo by Edward N. Johnson.
HOUSTON (April 27, 2016) – David Byers, U.S Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District survey technician, and Jonathan Whitmire, USACE Galveston District survey party chief, take measurements of cement joints inside Addicks and Barkers dams as part of routine maintenance on the dams. Survey teams are currently working around-the-clock to mitigate the risk of flooding both above and below the reservoirs following several days of heavy rainfall. U.S. Army photo by Edward N. Johnson.

Flood Summary

Last updated: July 15, 2016
Event
Houston, Texas, USA, April 2016
Date
April 17 to April 24, 2016
Type
Flash flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
US president has declared a major disaster for Fayette, Grimes, Harris, and Parker counties in Texas after the "Tax Day Flood" of 18 April, 2016.

Locations

Houston

Magnitude

Rainfall level
300 mm in 24 hours
Houston - April 17 to April 18, 2016

Damages

Buildings damaged
7,000
Harris County and Houston Metro Area
Fatalities
8 people
Houston Metro Area - April 17 to April 24, 2016