Someone asked me yesterday, with considerable frustration, why flood mitigation took so long.
On their way to the Lake Houston Area, floodwaters cross more political and departmental boundaries than I have fingers and toes to count on. (That’s especially true if you consider funding to address flooding, rule-making bodies that affect flooding, groups that predict flooding, and departments that respond to flooding). The short list includes:
- Houston Public Works
- Houston Planning and Development
- Houston City Council
- Houston Emergency Management
- Houston Police Department
- Houston Fire Department
- New Caney
- The Woodlands Township
- Harris County
- Harris County Flood Control
- Harris County Emergency Management
- Harris County Sheriffs’ Department
- Montgomery County
- Waller County
- San Jacinto County
- Walker County
- San Jacinto River Authority
- State of Texas
- Governor of the State of Texas
- Texas House
- Texas Senate
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- Texas Division of Emergency Management
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
- Texas Parks and Wildlife
- United States of America
- Department of Defense
- U.S. Army
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Homeland Security
- Housing and Urban Development
- Environmental Protection Agency
- National Weather Service
- National Hurricane Center
- U.S. Geological Service
- U.S. House of Representatives
- U.S. Senate
- U.S. President
- Cajun Navy
My apologies if I left anyone out. I could have drilled down into each one of these – the way I did for the City of Houston. But the Cajun Navy didn’t have an org chart. I also ran out of places on my calculator.
Seriously, flood mitigation has waaaay more moving parts than an aircraft carrier. But that’s a somewhat unfair analogy, because an aircraft carrier has a captain who knows where he wants to go and how to get there.
No wonder this stuff takes so long.
Can you imagine? Someone is breaking into your house. You call the police, but the 911 operator tells you to hang tight while the governor and president declare an emergency; Congress appropriates funds; Emergency Management devises a response plan; FEMA reviews your claim; three other agencies hire consultants who conduct an area-wide threat survey; TDEM prioritizes your needs; the Army Corps of Engineers studies bids; and the City works out an inter-local agreement with the County to raise matching funds, so that HUD can provide the money to buy out your house … when you’re dead and buried.
Who would tolerate an emergency response system that responds that way? 325 million Americans. That’s who.
If only Mother Nature respected political boundaries the way we do!
Happy Independence Day!
Posted July 4, 2018 by Bob Rehak
309 Days since Hurricane Harvey