Project Barker Aims to Address Katy Area Flooding


October 20, 2021

By Natalie Cook Clark

The Willow Fork Drainage District presented information on Project Barker, a flood risk reduction and park project, at a stakeholder meeting last night. They are committed to the project but need help finishing it. The Katy area experienced massive flooding during Hurricane Harvey, and officials warn this will happen again.

Project Barker plans to address future Katy area flooding risk by creating park space that will positively impact both the environment and education and youth programs. Hurricane Harvey devastated the area in 2017.

Katy Area Must Address Flood Management

“I want us to be the generation that addresses flood management in a significant way,” says Wendy Duncan, Willow Fork Drainage District (WFDD) Board President.

WFDD was established in 1985 with the purpose to address drainage as more homes and development moved west to the Cinco Ranch area. It has grown to 5,718 acres of land that includes 15+ miles of drainage channels, 50+ miles of storm sewer, 30+ miles of off-street trails, and 3 public parks.

Katy Not Prepared for Flooding Events

When Hurricane Harvey hit in August of 2017 it brought devastation to the greater Katy area and further emphasized what many officials and experts knew, this area is not prepared to handle flooding events.

While Harvey was horrible, many officials believe that it could have been worse, and we need to be better prepared.

“Barker Reservoir requires for them to flood homes,” stressed Stephen Robinson, Partner with Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP. Robinson presented clear facts on the flooding problem at the meeting. This issue is also personal to him as his home flooded with over 3 feet of water during Harvey.

Only 38% of the total storage in Barker Reservoir is available on government owned land. This means that any overage will result in the flooding of homes and businesses.

WFDD went to work quickly after Harvey and repaired channels in October 2017 with reserve funds. This turned out to save more homes and money as a Halloween storm that year would have resulted in the re-flooding of a significant portion of the area impacted by Harvey.