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Why does Houston flood so often? 

Every year Houston gains new residents filling up empty apartments. Many people come to Houston in search of professional opportunities or to start a new life away from the familiarities of home. 

However, before you call up your movers, we locals should warn you: there’s a risk factor in relocating to Houston.

The city of Houston is known for flooding. No, this flooding is not caused by faulty plumbing

So why does Houston flood regularly? 

Why does Houston flood regularly? 

Houston’s climate, geography, urbanism, and infrastructure are all factors that cause the city to flood often. It has dry soil, is located near a bayou, and has poor drainage and sewage infrastructure.

Let’s go into more detail here.

Geography & Climate

It is no secret that Houston is prone to flooding partly due to its geography. Many parts of the city were originally swampland, as Houston is near the coast. 

Even now, the city sits at the foot of the Buffalo Bayou, barely rising above the water’s surface. 

Houston’s humidity, dry soil, and flat terrain only compound this tendency for flooding. Very dry, compacted soil tends to repel water even more readily than moist earth.

Urbanism & Infrastructure 

Houston’s population is over seven million, but city development actually isn’t keeping pace with population growth right now. 

Despite the numerous types of housing structures being constructed, the city’s flooding infrastructure has been largely neglected. 

In fact, a variety of neighborhoods in Houston don’t have proper drainage systems. They merely use the ditches on the side of the road. 

Whenever it rains in Houston, there’s nowhere for the water to disappear to. The problem is not addressed even in newer developments that have proper drainage systems. 

Water right now is channeled into bayous or streams already at maximum capacity. So, in the case of water traveling downstream, neighborhoods by streams or bayous are at risk of flooding. 

This is why Houston’s urbanism is a problem. Houston’s government tackles developments project by project, but they don’t always consider the impact of development on the land. 

Wherever a person wants to develop a new luxury spa or optometrist office—it happens. There are no restrictions in place for Houston’s urban development. 

Without proper land management, what Houston needs—infrastructure and proper sewers—is being pushed aside to make way for Houston’s ever-growing urban sprawl. 

Since there’s no proper storage place for the water from the rainfall to go, it’s of no surprise that Houston is flooding. 

What is Houston doing to stop the flooding problem? 

As long as Houston’s urbanism continues to develop, there may not be a permanent solution to Houston’s flooding problem. Still, there are some measures being taken. 

What is Houston doing to stop the flooding problem? 

For one, Houston has implemented new flood warning systems to alert you directly to your phone when flooding may occur within your region. Additionally, the flood control district has installed rain gauges throughout the city. 

As of late, Houston’s government is tinkering with the idea of moving flood water overflow from Buffalo Bayou to Houston’s underground tunnels.

In order to continue developing Houston’s infrastructure, the flood control district is also starting construction on underdeveloped watersheds. The goal is to build necessary flood mitigation facilities.

In sum, although flooding can’t be solved overnight, things are finally moving in a positive direction. 

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