Houston’s Ike Dike will not provide sufficient protection to the city.
Houston’s ‘Ike Dike’ Won’t Adequately Protect the City
The Army Corps of Engineers’ $31 billion flood control project known as the ‘Ike Dike’ may not be sufficient in protecting Houston-area communities from severe hurricanes, according to the Corps’ own analysis. The project, which consists of a chain of sea walls and artificial dunes along the 50-mile-length of Galveston Bay, could still leave Houston and surrounding communities vulnerable to flooding during major storms, especially as climate change intensifies hurricanes. Additionally, the city’s network of bayous puts Houston’s inland neighbourhoods at flooding risk during storms. Activists suggest that the Corps spend money on green spaces that can absorb water across the city, rather than the Corps’ preferred mode of flood mitigation of engineered ‘gray infrastructure.’
According to the Corps’ own analysis, the largest project ever attempted by the Army Corps of Engineers may not be adequate in protecting communities near Houston from flooding caused by the most severe hurricanes.
After Hurricane Ike hit the city in 2008, a $31 billion flood control project called the ‘Ike Dike’ was designed, consisting of a “chain of sea walls and artificial dunes along the 50-mile-length of Galveston Bay, anchored by a two-mile-wide concrete gate system at the mouth of the ship channel”. However, experts claim that the Ike Dike may not be sufficient protection for Houston and surrounding areas during major storms. This is because the barriers may not be strong or high enough to cope with extreme storm surges, especially as hurricanes are expected to become more intense due to climate change.
The Corps has stated that the project “would reduce damage from medium-size hurricanes by as much as 77 percent and prevent an average of $2 billion in damages each year,” but ultimately, the Corps’ own analysis found that even with the project in place, the bay would suffer an average of over $1 billion in annual storm damage. Additionally, the Corps’ designs suggest that it may not be able to withstand storm surges caused by Category 4 and 5 hurricanes.
Grist’s Jake Bittle also notes that Houston’s inland neighbourhoods are also at risk of flooding during storms, as the city’s network of bayous can swell. The Corps is looking for ways to address this type of urban flooding but is struggling to identify good solutions. Activists such as Save Buffalo Bayou Director Susan Chadwick have called for the Corps to spend money on green spaces and grasslands that can absorb water across the city, instead of opting for engineered ‘gray infrastructure’ to control waterways.
1- melk360.com ,Houston’s ‘Ike Dike’ Won’t Adequately Protect the City ,2023-04-27 15:00:00