Land Development: A Super-Wicked Environmental Problem

Blake Hudson.

Hurricane Harvey dropped fifty-two inches of rainfall in the Houston, Texas area over only a few days in the summer of 2017 (the average annual rainfall in Houston is forty-five inches ). This was a record for any single storm event in the United States. At one point, a foot and a half of water covered seventy percent of Harris County, and one-third of the city of Houston was under water. So much water covered the region that it depressed the earth’s crust two centimeters. Ten thousand people were rescued from their homes as the floodwaters rose. Over 203,000 homes were damaged, with over 12,000 homes completely destroyed. 2017 was the third year in a row that Houston had suffered a “500 year flood”—floods in 2015 and 2016 also damaged thousands of homes. A few months after Hurricane Harvey, Houston’s city council and mayor approved an 800-home development on a previously unpaved and undeveloped piece of property within the 100-year floodplain.

Full Article