Corps releases at Addicks and Barker Dams to begin

Published Aug. 28, 2017
GALVESTON, Texas–The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District is starting water releases immediately from Addicks and Barker dams because water levels in the reservoirs have increased dramatically in the last few hours.

“Residents adjacent to the reservoirs need to be vigilant because the water in the reservoirs is rising rapidly,” said Col. Lars Zetterstrom, Galveston District commander. “Both reservoirs are rising more than half a foot per hour.”

According to Corps models, at this rate the first home in Addicks Reservoir will be impacted in 2 to 4 hours and the first home in Barker Reservoir will be impacted later this morning. 

The Corps will start releasing around 800 cubic feet per second from each reservoir for a total of 1,600 c.f.s. Within the next 6 to 10 hours we will be releasing 4,000 c.f.s. from both reservoirs, for a combined total of 8,000 c.f.s.

“If we don’t begin releasing now, the volume of uncontrolled water around the dams will be higher and have a greater impact on the surrounding communities,” said Zetterstrom. “We are coordinating floodwater releases from Addicks and Barker with the Harris County Flood Control District so they can make informed decisions for the communities they support.” 

Zetterstrom noted that the water in the reservoirs will flow into the Buffalo Bayou whether it goes through the gates or around the end of the dams.

“It’s going to be better to release the water through the gates directly into Buffalo Bayou as opposed to letting it go around the end and through additional neighborhoods and ultimately into the bayou,” Zetterstrom said.

The Corps is confident that the structures continue to perform as they were designed to do.

“This flood event will exceed the 2016 tax day flood elevations,” Zetterstrom said. “During the 2016 tax day flood Addicks and Barker Dams reduced Buffalo Bayou’s peak discharge from 132,853 c.f.s. to 7,160 c.f.s.” 

“Public safety continues to be our number one concern as we work closely with our partners - the City of Houston, Fort Bend County, Harris County and the Texas Dept. of Public Safety - to monitor the reservoirs,” said Zetterstrom.  “Residents should always listen to and follow instructions of local emergency management officials.”  

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Randy Cephus

Release no. 17-031