During her visit to Houston, the Dutch queen learns about flood control

During her meeting with the mayor of Houston, Queen Maxima discovered how the Netherlands has collaborated with local authorities to lessen the effects of floods in the wake of the catastrophic devastation that Hurricane Harvey inflicted on the city in 2017. Parts of the Houston area received more than 50 inches (127 centimetres) of rain as a result of Harvey. In Texas, the storm inflicted damage worth $125 billion.

The queen also met with representatives from the state and the federal government and learned how Dutch academics and engineers have been assisting Texas in the construction of what may end up being the greatest storm surge barrier in history. Following Hurricane Ike’s devastation of the Texas Gulf Coast in 2008, the neighbouring Galveston coastal barrier system was modelled after Dutch constructions.

The Dutch queen’s trip to Houston on Friday brought to light a history of cooperation between Texas and the Netherlands in the fight against flooding, a common foe.

She said, “We need you, so thank you very much and I hope you keep up this great teamwork.

The Netherlands and Texas are ideal allies in the battle against flooding.

This week, Queen Maxima travelled to Austin, Texas, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She expressed her admiration for the two nations’ flood prevention methods and noted that they “not only (create) knowledge to truly benefit the rest of the globe.”

The fourth-largest city in the country, Houston, frequently floods because it lacks the infrastructure to handle torrential rain. Natural wetlands in the area that once captured storm water runoff have been drastically decreased by development. The Texas Gulf Coast is exposed to potentially disastrous storms every hurricane season. Storm surges caused by hurricanes can increase the risk of flooding in the Houston Ship Channel, which is home to 40% of the country’s petrochemical industry.

The design and implementation of flood-management strategies are at the forefront of the world. The nation has invested billions of dollars in the construction of a network of dams, levees, and storm surge barriers because some 26% of its 17 million residents live below sea level.

Michael Braden, director of the U.S. government’s megaproject division Without assistance from the Dutch, the barrier system along the Texas Gulf Coast would not be where it is today, according to the Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District. The barrier system, which was initially designed by a Galveston professor and is modelled after a project known as the “Ike Dike,” is anticipated to shortly receive final congressional clearance before being sent to President Joe Biden for his signature. The almost $31 billion project, whose construction may last up to 20 years, would require separate approval for funding.

The coastal project is intended to address a local problem, but Braden noted that coastal communities worldwide would eventually require the knowledge we get through the design and construction phases. Officials from the Netherlands and the United States stated on Friday that the need to combat floods has increased as a result of global warming, which has increased the frequency of storms with greater winds and copious rain.

According to a United Nations assessment published in March, Texas and other Gulf of Mexico states are in grave danger from climate change-related rising seas, depleted fisheries, and toxic tides. Many of the flood mitigation methods that have been created with the assistance of the city’s Dutch partners, such as neighbourhood resilience plans and prairie conservation efforts that will help limit water runoff, according to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, will soon be put into action.

But we also want our community to thrive, expand, and move forward after a recovery, not just respond and recuperate. We don’t intend to rebuild. To construct backwards is to build for failure. We want to advance,” Turner stated.

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