Civil engineers are preparing to tackle Houston’s future challenges with severe weather patterns, population growth, and access to safe water. Civil engineers must not only provide well-designed solutions, but must also collaborate with local municipalities and state governments to ensure their projects meet current and future regulations that support the successful and positive development of one of the nation’s biggest cities.
Preparing for Severe Weather
The last decade has seen some of Houston’s most devastating storms, and meteorologists are predicting similar events in the coming years.
The National Center for Environmental Information has reported an average of four to five days of flooding per year in Harris County between 1996 and 2015. What’s more shocking is that some of these flood areas are the size of the state of Rhode Island.
Intense tropical storms, coupled by a lack of prairie fields and an increase in paved surfaces, have made Houston especially inhospitable to flooding. In addition, thunderstorms and hurricanes threaten damages to homes and commercial structures.
Civil engineers in Houston are working to lessen the amount of impervious surfaces and find ways to appropriately structure waterways that slow the speed of water runoff, directing it away from roads and buildings. In addition, engineers are developing methods to direct stormwater to reuse systems. This would not only help to mitigate the negative effects of flooding, but could help save costs on water consumption.
PRD Land Development has also worked with clients to design gradation plans that elevate service buildings, keeping driveways accessible during emergency storm events.
Planning for Population Growth & Density
Today, Houston has more than 2 million residents. From 2011 to 2015, the population grew by more than 30,000 residents each year. If these trends continue, Houston’s population could reach several million people in the approaching decades.
The increase in population is coupled by a need for housing, increases in traffic, demands for public transportation, a need for more complex wireless networks, and strains on the water, gas, and energy infrastructures. Civil engineers are designing paving, drainage, domestic water distribution, sewer systems, roads, and housing developments with these factors in mind.
Because Houston’s population lives both within the city and in suburban developments outside of the city, the solutions are diverse and ranging. By partnering with local governments and land owners, civil engineers can help propose resolutions that effectively support a larger population.
Securing Access to Safe Water
Many communities around the world are facing future issues with water security. Houston has one of the most complex water systems in the nation, comprised of more than 40 ground water plants that serve four counties.
Civil engineers must work in partnership with county and state agencies to monitor and assess Houston’s water treatment, storage, and transportation. In this way, civil engineers play a huge role in making sure that water sources remain safe and efficient as the county’s population grows.
Learn more about PRD Land Development’s work in promoting a health and prospering Houston.