How about we excavate those reservoirs?

Okay by me.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is quietly exploring the possibility of excavating dirt from Addicks and Barker reservoirs, reviving an oft-discussed proposal that would allow the reservoirs to hold more storm water and keep it out of nearby Houston neighborhoods.

Depending on the scope of the project, removing silt and dirt could increase the reservoirs’ capacity significantly, perhaps even doubling it, by one Corps official’s rough estimate. Whether the agency moves forward could depend in part on whether it can find someone to take all the dirt.


The idea of excavating the reservoirs has been a fixture of official reports and politicians’ to-do lists for more than 20 years. Thanks to Harvey, its time may finally have arrived.

In a notice posted on the Internet, the Army Corps said it “is evaluating the level of interest from government, industry, and others parties for the excavation and removal of alluvial soils deposited within” the reservoirs.

“The concept of the potential project is to allow for the beneficial use of material by interested parties while increasing capacity” at Addicks and Barker, the notice said.

It appeared Jan. 24, with no public announcement, on a website that advertises business opportunities with the federal government.

Corps officials won’t say anything further about their plans, including how much soil would be excavated, how much it would cost or who would pay.

Read on to learn more about the dirt, which is actually kind of interesting. The question of how much this would cost and who would pay for it seems to me to be the more fundamental issue. A third reservoir is still a good idea, but increasing the capacity of the existing reservoirs would be wise as well. Probably cheaper, and faster to accomplish, too. I doubt anyone is opposed to this, so what do we need to do to get this started?

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Hurricane Katrina and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How about we excavate those reservoirs?

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    I thought the problem with the reservoirs during Harvey was, the floodgates had to be opened because the Corps was worried about breeches in the dike walls. Excavating the reservoirs would allow more water, and thus, even more pressure on the same dike walls. What’s the point of adding extra capacity if we still have to fear breaches?

  2. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    Only water above the level of the base of the gates would put pressure on the gates. Excavating to increase the depth of the reservoirs wouldn’t affect that. Widening or raising the height of the sides of the reservoir might increase the pressure, but more depth shouldn’t.

  3. voter_worker says:

    You may be discounting potential opposition from folks who won’t take kindly to scraping the forest off the bottom before lowering it.

  4. David Fagan says:

    Or the fact that all those trees are holding the surrounding soil in place.

Comments are closed.