Judge Finds Army Corps Liable for Harvey Damage From Two Dams

“A federal judge on Tuesday ruled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was liable for damage caused by its decision to retain floodwaters upstream of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs during Hurricane Harvey, a move that caused severe and widespread flooding to homes and businesses on the far-west outreaches of the Houston region.

In a historic victory against the federal government, a judge from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled the flood damage above the two World War II-era dams that span Harris and Fort Bend counties was a foreseeable result of government’s actions.

U.S. Judge Charles F. Lettow detailed how government officials knowingly and intentionally used private property to store rising floodwaters. He ruled — based on mountains of complicated data, testimony, evidence and an in-person tour of bellwether properties — that the victims living near the federally owned reservoirs did not know their property was in a flood pool and that they must be allowed to seek compensation for their losses.”

Gabrielle Banks reports for the Houston Chronicle December 17, 2019.