The Harris County area has been subject to both droughts and floods throughout its history. In the recent past, major flooding has occurred during both tropical storm events (i.e., Allison in 2001) and heavy precipitation events (e.g., Memorial Day Floods of 2015). Since 1996, a total of 48 flood-related fatalities and damages of over $5 billion have been reported within the county. During this same time period, however, the county and state also experienced the driest and hottest single year on record - 2011.
The conventional stormwater management and flood control is hold and release. In vision of the alternating extreme weather patterns and the need for reserving valuable water resources for the future droughts, Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner’s Office and Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) conceived an idea of putting the flood water to better use.
The scope of this Drainage Reuse Initiative (DRI) is to investigate the feasibility of alternative methods of flood mitigation by conveying stormwater to the subsurface, which includes natural infiltration to groundwater, enhanced infiltration or injection via drywells into unconfined aquifers, and mechanical injection into deep formations. The project is currently planning a pilot study near Tomball, Texas to compare three methods of enhanced infiltration in one of the county's many existing detention basins.
PI: Gretchen Miller
Co-PI: Zhuping Sheng, Ron Kaiser
Sponsor: Harris County Flood Control District and Binkley & Barfield, Inc.
Project Dates: Phase i: May 2017 - July 2018, Phase II: January 2019 - December 2020
- Dr. Miller discusses managed aquifer recharge post-Harvey with the Texas Tribune
- Dr. Miller interviewed for Conservation Matters
- Miller’s Drainage Reuse Initiative Project Featured on NPR’s Houston Matters
- Drainage Reuse Initiative Project Report
- Feasibility Study and Numerical Modeling on Managed Aquifer Recharge Using Dry Wells in Harris County, Texas