HOUSTON - Houston Mayor Turner announced today a new package of incentives to help fight flooding and water pollution through green infrastructure techniques such as rain gardens and green roofs. Environment Texas, which had called for such measures immediately after Hurricane Harvey, applauded the steps.
"From flooding to pollution in our bayous, stormwater runoff is causing a lot of problems in Houston," said Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger. "Historically, we counted on natural ecosystems like wetlands and prairies to absorb significant amounts of rainwater, but that's a lot harder to do in paved urban environments. Houston is smart to work to mimic nature by greening up the city."
Environment Texas has been working to get the city of Houston to promote green infrastructure for a number of years. In February 2017, the group joined with Houston Councilman David Robinson to release Catching the Rain: How Green Infrastructure Can Reduce Flooding and Improve Water Quality. In September 2017, following Hurricane Harvey, the group released a report giving the city of Houston a grade of just 50% for its efforts to promote green infrastructure. In August 2018, Environment Texas released an analysis showing that 96% of Houston bayous had at least one day of unsafe bacteria levels for contact recreation in 2017.
The City will promote use of green infrastructure through financial incentives, streamlined permitting, and use of awards and public recognition.