A high school near Houston that’s experienced flooding on many occasions is trying to be proactive. Kingwood High School is building floodgates that will be up to eight feet tall, thanks to $25 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.
“It has been absolutely wrecked by some of the more recent storms that we had,” Webb says. “It took on five feet of flood waters during Tropical Storm Harvey.”
The floodgate will be built underground and will become active when flood waters begin to rise.
Other Houston institutions have had success with similar floodgates in the past. The University of Houston built floodgates that prevented flooding during Hurricane Harvey. The university had learned a hard lesson after receiving 12 feet of flood water when Tropical Storm Allison hit in 2001.
FEMA’s flood protection program is funding the Kingwood floodgates. The agency generally assists in protecting buildings that have been damaged in the past, and where owners present a cost-saving project proposal.
“It cost about $63 million to fix Kingwood High after Hurricane Harvey and because [the floodgate proposal] came in under $30 million, [FEMA] went ahead and said ‘we’ll pay for 90% of the cost for putting in these floodgates,’” Webb says, “sort of hoping to get a good return on investment in case there’s a future storm.”
Written by Libby Cohen.