Four years after Hurricane Harvey, Houston mayor says the city is less vulnerable

Four years after Hurricane Harvey bombarded the Bayou City with 52 inches of rain Houston's Mayor delivered both a question and an answer.

"Are we safer today than we were four years ago? I think the answer is yes," said Turner.

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Better protected, according to the Mayor, because of flood mitigation projects completed at a cost of $780 million local dollars.

Leading that investment - more than a half-billion dollars for improved drainage along with 357 acres of a property newly designated for water retention.  

RELATED: Houston, Harris Co. not included in $1 billion Texas flood mitigation project

Turner also lauded other resiliency innovations like so-called "green stormwater" projects and City regulations mandating that new housing be built higher.

"I know that Mayors have a special responsibility to better prepare our community and enable them to build back better when disaster strikes and we need to set a much higher bar for our infrastructure," said Turner.

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Representing the hard-hit Kingwood area, Council Member Dave Martin identified improvements at the Lake Houston Dam and dredging of the west fork of the San Jacinto River as measures that will make his district substantially less vulnerable.

"I can sit here today on August 25th, 2021, and emphatically state we are better today than the day after Harvey hit," said Martin.

RELATED: Mayor Turner says some minority neighborhoods unfairly treated by Harvey rebuilding program

Chief Recovery Officer Steve Costello says while much has been done, the lengthy process of better flood-proofing Greater Houston is far from complete.

"The accomplishments that we've done over the last four years will be overshadowed by the huge successes we will have moving forward on some of the bigger hazard mitigation projects that the Mayor has set. We are moving forward. We just have to be a little patient," said Costello.

Mayor Turner emphasized that despite the passing of four years Houston has yet to receive all the Harvey relief money approved by Congress, citing billions of dollars being held by the Texas General Land Office.