Harvey reservoir flood investigation continues to uncover evidence to support our clients’ claims

Addicks reservoir flooding, hurricane harvey flood lawsuit, addicks reservoir lawsuit
Addicks reservoir flooding, hurricane harvey flood lawsuit, addicks reservoir lawsuit
An AP photo of the flooding caused by the Addicks Reservoir

One of the main items we must prove in these kinds of cases is that the government knew your property would be among those inundated with water and damaged by the release of water downstream from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs or by the accumulation of water onto private properties upstream.  We are uncovering evidence supporting these claims.

Our investigation continues to uncover evidence we believe supports our clients’ constitutional property claims

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) analyzed the Addicks and Barker reservoirs almost 10 years ago.  The purpose of this analysis was to understand and communicate “water inundation risks to stakeholders located in and around the reservoirs.”  The government’s findings included:

  • “there are significant residential encroachments within the footprints of the maximum reservoir flood pools”;
  • “substantial residential neighborhoods and commercial developments are located upstream and adjacent to the federal project lands as well as along the channel below the dams and throughout the Buffalo Bayou watersheds”;
  • “major thoroughfares crossing through the reservoirs are subject to inundation”; and
  •  the decision on when and how much to open or close the dams is a team effort of the” USACE.

A related analysis conducted by the USACE during the same time period focused on “assessment of potential flood damage” and concluded the following areas would be flooded at certain flow levels:  “homes in the vicinity of West Beltway Bridge” and homes “between the bridges over Buffalo Bayou at North Wilcrest Drive … and Chimney Rock Road.”

US Army Corps of Engineers Manager for the Addicks and Barker reservoirs gives statements that support our clients’ claims

Statements by Richard Long, Manager of the USACE responsible for operations of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, support our clients’ claims:

  • “This area [upstream properties] is designed to hold that water if necessary. It’s unfortunate for you all, but that’s how it’s designed.”
  • “We know it’s putting people, making people hurt upstream, and we know it’s making people hurt downstream, but we have to … operate the reservoirs for the entire population.”
  • “We have opened the gates and we are actually flooding homes downstream now due to our releases.”
  • “Did we know you would have five-foot of water in your home? We knew that if we got this event, there will be homes with water in them, yes.”
  • “This is the first time we have flooded homes located adjacent to and upstream from the property.”
  • “The Corps also can impound water on more land than it owns, so it could flood properties behind or beside the reservoirs.”

Some real estate documents also contain evidence supporting our clients’ claims that the government intentionally flooded private properties. For example, some plats for some of the Katy area upstream neighborhoods contain the following fine print: “subject to extended controlled inundation under the management of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”