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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Rant: Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.”

Rant: Water, water, everywhere, Nor(quist) any drop to drink.”

From Flint to Houston, the Right Wing Reforms are Killing Americans. They stole our Jobs, They are Stealing our Schools and Now they are Drowning Americans in their Reform Bath Tub. This Has Got to STOP. 

Houston’s ‘Wild West’ growth
How the city's development may have contributed to devastating flooding

Houston calls itself “the city with no limits” to convey the promise of boundless opportunity. But it also is the largest U.S. city to have no zoning laws, part of a hands-off approach to urban planning that may have contributed to catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey and left thousands of residents in harm’s way.
Growth that is virtually unchecked, including in flood-prone areas, has diminished the land’s already-limited natural ability to absorb water, according to environmentalists and experts in land use and natural disasters. And the city’s drainage system — a network of reservoirs, bayous and, as a last resort, roads that hold and drain water — was not designed to handle the massive storms that are increasingly common.
Certainly, the record-shattering rainfall on Houston and its surrounding area this week would have wreaked havoc even if stricter building limits and better runoff systems were in place. And local officials have defended the city’s approach to development.
But the unfolding disaster — at least 22 people are dead and 30 percent of Harris County, which includes Houston, is underwater — is drawing renewed scrutiny to Houston’s approach to city planning and its unique system for managing floodwater.
“You would have seen widespread damage with Harvey no matter what, but I have no doubt it could have been substantially reduced,” said Jim Blackburn, co-director of Rice University’s research center on severe storm prediction and disaster evacuation.
Over many years, officials in Houston and Harris County have resisted calls for more stringent building codes. Proposals for large-scale flood-control projects envisioned in the wake of Hurricane Ike in 2008 stalled. City residents have voted three times not to enact a zoning code, most recently in 1993.
Rather than impose restrictions on what property owners can do with their land, Houston has attempted to engineer a solution to drainage. The region depends on a network of bayous — slow-moving streams that run east into Galveston Bay — and concrete channels as the main drainage system. Streets and detention ponds are designed to carry and hold the overflow.Houston’s ‘Wild West’ growth
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