The Controlled Release of Water from the Addicks/Barker Reservoirs and Lake Conroe Resulted in Flooding
Those in Southeast Texas were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey in August, however some residents in the city of Houston suffered what they believe to be unnecessary flooding in their homes. Of course, no one could predict or control the devastation Hurricane Harvey brought to the area, however at 1:30 a.m. on Monday, August 28th, and later, at 10:30 p.m. that night, the San Jacinto River Authority made the decision to release water from Lake Conroe and the Army Core of Engineers made the decision to release water from the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. The reason given for these “controlled” releases of floodwaters was to lessen the likelihood of dams bursting, causing potentially worse flooding in downtown Houston.
These decisions are being questioned by those affected, as homes in the areas which had not experienced flooding from Hurricane Harvey soon had several feet of water inside after these “controlled” releases of floodwaters. The decisions to release floodwaters into residential areas soon resulted in lawsuits from home and business owners in the affected areas. The Addicks/Barker reservoir release flooded homes in Houston’s Memorial area, while the Lake Conroe release affected both those in the Kingwood area, as well as some other northeast Harris County communities.
Were You a Victim of Houston Controlled Flooding?
If you are a homeowner who was affected by the controlled flooding during Hurricane Harvey, you may be entitled to file a Houston controlled flooding lawsuit. If you own commercial or residential property in the areas south of the Addicks Reservoir, east of the Barker Reservoir, or downstream from Buffalo Bayou that was adversely affected by the controlled release of water, you may have a case. Those individuals with property downstream from Lake Conroe may also be able to take part in a Houston controlled flooding lawsuit. Plaintiffs who have already filed a Houston controlled flooding claim, are asserting inverse condemnation, and seeking recovery for:
· The repair costs to their homes;
· Diminishment of the value of their homes;
· Lost income or business income, and
· Other consequential losses associated with the controlled flooding.
Inverse condemnation occurs when a governmental entity “takes” private property without following eminent domain laws. “Taking” can also include damaging the use of property, which is essentially equivalent to a condemnation of the property. Those in the areas which were damaged by the controlled release of floodwaters during Hurricane Harvey have rights under Section 17, Article 1 of the Texas Constitution.
The San Jacinto River Authority was questioned prior to Hurricane Harvey about the possibility of pre-releasing water, as a means of preventing the flooding which occurred when the massive amounts of water were released during the hurricane. The San Jacinto River Authority claimed it would take weeks to achieve enough drop in the lake levels to buffer a major storm event, and that if water were to be pre-released, and no significant rainfall resulted from Hurricane Harvey, then crucial supplies of stored water from Lake Conroe would have been drained.
How a Houston Inverse Condemnation Lawyer Can Help
If you suffered damages due to inverse condemnation during Hurricane Harvey, you could benefit from speaking to a Houston flood lawyer. Having an experienced inverse condemnation attorney by your side can help in the outcome of your Houston controlled flooding lawsuit.