HOUSTON - Annette and Armond Kapp watched as the heavy rain during Harvey flooded the homes of all their immediate neighbors.
"When it came up and I opened the front door, I looked it was very close, to the threshold. I said 'Stay!' and it stayed," recalled Armond. He and his wife have lived in their Meyerland home for nearly 50 years.
But the need for flood mitigation was indisputable. Fortunately, those improvements are in progress and Houston City Councilmember Abbie Kamin believes they're already helping.
"I think even with [Tuesday] night's storm, we all kind of holding our breath as we watched to see what would happen," Kamin noted. "And, we are seeing storm after storm now, the water is staying within the banks. So, things like Project Brays, which is still underway, is already making a dent in those risks."
"We've done two channel segments from just upstream of Buffalo Speedway all the way to Fondren. We've finished the channel improvements through that area," added Gary Zika, Federal Projects Department Manager with Harris County Flood Control District. "We finished the Hillcroft Bridge and we're working on the Buffalo Speedway bridge replacement, the South Rice bridge replacement, and the Chimney Rock bridge replacement."
He notes nearly all storm drains in Meyerland have been modified and the bridges are being elevated. Additionally, those three bridges are expected to be done by early next year.
Meanwhile, Kamin adds there are flood mitigation projects underway in other parts of the city. On Wednesday, Houston City Council also voted on a contract for the engineering and design work for the North Canal Project.
"We also worked closely with the county and purchased a tract of land just at 610 and South Braeswood. The Meyerland detention basin, its three interconnected basins at the loop provides 30 acre-feet of detention. So, that's also adding additional relief and we're also working on the Meyergrove apartments the city's working on a big detention project there," she said. "It's a massive flood mitigation program that includes diverting and detaining water along Buffalo and White Oak bayous right before downtown."
As for the Kapps, they're not making a judgment quite yet.
"Well, we really haven't had bad rain since we started with the improvements so it's hard to tell," Annette concluded.