Last week, the City of Houston started clearing debris from the culverts under Kingwood Drive near Kingwood High School. Local flood-fighter Chris Bloch has been working for years behind the scenes to document drainage issues such as this one and convince local officials to address them.
Un-named and Long-Forgotten Tributary Finally Getting Attention
One of Bloch’s latest investigations has been an uncatalogued and long-ignored channel under Kingwood Drive. It helps drain Kingwood High School into Bens Branch. But it doesn’t show up anywhere on Harris County Flood Control District maps.
Two Feet of Sediment Block Culverts Under Kingwood Drive
Bloch says, “The channel originates at Kingwood High School’s athletic fields. The ditch is narrow and full of sediment and vegetation. Side channels, which empty into this ditch, are also full of sediment and vegetation. This is the only ditch providing storm water drainage from the high school campus.”
The ditch in question passes through three culverts under the Westbound lanes of Kingwood Drive. They are obstructed by 24 inches of sediment and debris. See below.
“If cleared of sediment, the cross section area of the three culverts would total 60 square feet.“
More Blockages Downstream
After crossing under Kingwood Drive, the ditch funnels water into a 24-inch corrugated plastic culvert. That carries it across the Kingwood Country Club Driving Range. “This cross-sectional flow area of this culvert is only about 5% of the total area of the three culverts that pass under Kingwood Drive,” says Bloch.
Later, as the ditch crosses two fairways on its way to Bens Branch, sediment and vegetation again partially block it. They also partially block the three culverts under Centerpoint’s easement near Bens Branch.
Bloch believes, “Maintenance and improvement of this ditch upstream of these outfalls would significantly improve drainage of the high school campus.”
Ensuring Long-Term Maintenance
“Although the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has no property rights for this channel, the District may be willing to partner with property owners to improve drainage,” says Bloch. “The original channel was reported to have been installed by Humble ISD (HISD) prior to the existence of the driving range.”
Bloch says he has been communicating with HISD, HCFCD and the City of Houston about the poor condition of this ditch since 2020. “I recently communicated with Mayor Pro Tem Martin’s office about this ditch and spoke with Mayor Pro Tem Martin himself about it. The de-silting is another small step forward for flood mitigation in Kingwood. I appreciate the involvement of Mayor Pro Tem Martin.”
“Recently, HCFCD indicated they would be willing to partner with the property owners of this ditch to improve drainage. Hopefully, once the City completes the sediment removal of the channel on the Kingwood Drive right of way, HISD and the Country Club can get together with the HCFCD to improve drainage across the Country Club property to Bens Branch,” says Bloch.
Posted by Bob Rehak with thanks to Chris Bloch and Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin
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