22 Apr, 2016

can flooding be defined and prevented?

Sehba Sarwar
22 Apr, 2016

Above: a swollen Buffalo Bayou two days after another “100 Year Flood”

Four days after another “100 Year Flood” hit Houston, city residents are questioning the definition of 100 Year Floods and 500 Year Floods, especially since flooding occurs every few years. In his 2015 Texas Monthly essay The Problems With 100-Year Floods” John Loma Novax argues that the very definition is deceptive since the city experiences flooding often. Some citizens, who have formed a group, Residents Against Flooding, are stating that city officials are partly responsible since developers are permitted to “use loopholes and grandfathering to avoid doing what the city’s laws require them to do” (Don’t blame Mother Nature for flooding. Blame City Council., Houston Chronicle, April 19, 2016).

Sehba SarwarIn the meantime, René’s school flooded again, the second time in less than a year, and many are wondering why HISD – a school district that owns vast amounts of land throughout Houston – cannot find another space to better serve the needs of a small campus that enrolls immigrant and refugee youth.

Today is Earth Day and the sun is out. Rising water has largely receded, even though once again, lives have been lost and countless homes damaged. This city will rebuild, but few have confidence that steps will be taken to prevent future flooding, which will occur soon – and not after a 100 year gap.

In the meantime, as Rina Chandran at the Wire reminds us, today is also the third anniversary of Dhaka’s Rana Plaza collapse when 1,135 people lost their lives and thousands more were injured.

22 Apr 2016 · 08:27:56 AM