Texas – Houston to Use Old Golf Course for Flood Mitigation

The City of Houston, Texas, is getting creative with flood control, with new plans to use an old golf course to store as much as 350 million gallons of storm water.

The City announced on Tuesday, 07 March, that it intends to convert the Inwood Forest Golf Course, a 223-acre site closed since 2007, into a series of 10 connected detention basins. It is hoped that plan will mitigate flooding within the White Oak Bayou watershed.

Once complete the new detention basins will be able to hold 350 million gallons of storm water, almost 530 Olympic size pools worth of water, which is more water than the Houston Astrodome could hold.

The City purchased the 227-acre course in March 2011 for $9.3 million and spent $2.5 million building the first two detention basins. With recent Council approval of an interlocal agreement, the City and Harris County Flood Control District are now free to invest about $20 million to design and develop the remaining basins, with the first phase slated to begin construction in 2018.

“After the design phase and masterplan study, we will have a better understanding of the basin layouts, depths, and potential green space available for the community,” said Paresh Lad, Acting Deputy Assistant Director for the Department of Public Works and Engineering’s Infrastructure Planning.

Harris County Flood Control District will oversee the construction and maintenance of the project. The Inwood Storm Water Detention Basins will be located in the vicinity of Antoine Drive between Victory Drive and West Gulf Bank Road.

This is the latest in a series of announcements regarding the city’s plans for addressing flooding and drainage. In January, the Mayor Sylvester Turner formed the Storm Water Action Team to expand maintenance capabilities and improve the movement of water from day-to-day storm events through rehabilitation and upgrade of existing drainage infrastructure. Also in January, the mayor announced the City of Houston would be stepping in to provide the funds needed to help expedite long-awaited flood relief projects along Brays, Hunting and White Oak Bayous.

Houston was ravaged by floods in April 2016 after 12 inches (300 mm) of rain fell in 24 hours. Around 7,000 homes were damaged and 8 people died in what became known as the “Tax Day Flood”.

Houston floods 22 April 2016. Photo: Sandra Arnold, USACE Galveston District