Important Barker Reservoir Update and Flooding FAQ!

Harris County ESD 48 Fire & EMS conducted almost 150 calls in the last 24 hours and approximately 336 calls since the beginning of the Hurricane Harvey event on Friday night, August 25th.  Fortunately, a large number of people listened to our warning and chose to voluntarily evacuate many of the low-lying areas that border George Bush Park which many don’t realize is also the Barker Reservoir.  Many residents were able to evacuate on their own which made our efforts much easier.  For those that could not get out and needed help, our crews along National Gaurd with high water vehicles and hundreds of civilian volunteers with boats helped us to rescue over 1,000 people (including 3 women in labor), countless household pets, 13 cows and 7 donkeys.

While current forecasts still project the Katy area receiving addition rain over the next 24-48 hours we do not expect to see any more significant flooding than we have seen over the last three days.  We just received an updated map and projection from the Army Corp of Engineers that you can see below.  Although this map depicts water levels of 104 feet, the Army Corp does not anticipate water levels getting anywhere near this level.

Here is what we know:

  • Barker Reservoir’s current level as of 8:00 pm is 101.4 feet (up from 101.3 at 12:00 pm)
  • Barker Reservoir is expected to peak sometime Wednesday, August 30th at 101.7 feet (down from 104.4 projected on Tuesday)
  • Additional rain over the next two days should not be sufficient to cause any significant change in the reservoir levels but may take many days before flooded homes see water recede.

This means that homes that do not have water in them currently and have more than a foot of elevation over the current water levels are unlikely to be affected by the projected peak water level.  The map below is the most recent we have received and depicts the maximum effect on our area if the reservoir was to hit its max level of 104 feet of elevation (which they no longer predict will happen).

(If you are curious about your house’s elevation a Nextdoor user [Zerika S.] suggested this website may give you an idea of your elevation, however, we have not verified its accuracy so don’t rely on the results. https://www.distancesto.com/elevation.php )

Barker Reservoir at 104 foot level

The light blue shaded area depicts flood zone of the Barker reservoir if water levels reached its maximum of 104 feet.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. If they release water from the reservoir will it flood my house in Katy?
    NO. Water released flows away from Katy towards Houston and lowers the water level in our area (see graphic below).
  2. A friend told me that the reservoir would reach 108 feet, is that true?
    NO, for two reasons.  First, the current projection is for Barker to crest around 101.7 feet which is approximately 6 inches higher than its current level.  Secondly, the Barker spillway begins releasing water at 104 feet so it is physically impossible for it to achieve 108 feets as additional water will simply spill out of the emergency spillway.
  3. Someone came by and said that the dam was about to break and everyone in Katy would flood, is that true?
    NO for two reasons. First, the Army Corp of Engineers has been monitoring the dam 24/7 throughout this event and has found it to be structurally sound.  Second, if the dam were to be compromised the water would flow downhill towards Houston which would swiftly lower the water level on the Katy side.
  4. My home is currently flooded, how long will it be before the water will go down?
    Currently projections are for the water to rise through mid-Wednesday (8/30/17) and then slowly recede over time.  Current projections have some houses with water in them for an extended period of time (1 week plus).
Addicks and Barker

Water released from the Barker reservoir flows east into the Buffalo Bayou and away from the Katy area.  The more water released, the lower the water will be in our area.

Please help us share this information with your friends and neighbors.  Stay tuned here and to trusted news sources and do not listen to social media “facts” or anyone who claims to have “special”  information.  We will keep this site up to date with the most accurate information as we receive it.  We are in direct contact with Harris County Flood Control and the Army Corp of Engineers.

Shelters:
There are 62 total shelters across Harris County with an estimated total of 12,700 individuals using these facilities. A list of currently open shelter facilities can be found at www.readyharris.org.

Volunteers:
• American Red Cross, (866) 526-8300, http://www.redcross.org/
• Volunteer Houston, (281) 656-1533, http://volunteerhouston.org
• Texas Gulf Coast VOAD, http://txgulfcoastvoad.org/

We are no longer asking for boats and high water vehicles. We are encouraging people with boats/vehicles who still want to help to assist their neighbors if they can do so safely.

Donations:
CrossPoint Community Church – 700 Westgreen Blvd, Katy, TX 77450
The Fellowship – 22765 Westheimer Pkwy, Katy, TX 77450

We are almost through what will surely be a historic weather event for both our city and the nation.  We have been truly amazed at the outpouring of love and assistance from our community from food and goodies for our tired crews to people showing with boats, rafts, trucks, and jeeps to take care of people in need.  We are so proud to serve such an amazing community… Thank you!

Previous Update:
Monday: Barker and Addicks Reservoirs… How it affects the Katy area.

45 thoughts on “Important Barker Reservoir Update and Flooding FAQ!

  1. Back in 2002, Canyon Lake (north of San Antonio) experienced significant inflows, and water began flowing over the spillway. At peak the water was more than nine feet high going over the spillway. Your reason number 2 that the water cannot reach 108 feet is false; the water most certainly could reach four feet above the spillway.

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    • Pete, each reservoir, and spillway is a little different and my understanding, based on my conversation with the Army Corp of Engineers, is that is can definitely go over the 104 feet level but it much over 104.4 to 104.5 is the upper edge of what can be seen on this setup. Because of how the Barker Reservoir was built, the volume of water required to both overcome the cubic feet per second potential from the release gates, emergency spillway, and water that would begin escaping around the sides of the damn achieving 4 feet over the level of the emergency spillway is simply not feasible.

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      • I agree this isn’t accurate. My inlaws house is at almost 110 feet and it’s starting to come in their house due to the Addicks release.

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  2. What does the light orange area around buffalo bayou mean on the second figure? My parents are in their home off briar forest and Wilcrest. Is this cause for concern for that area?

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    • The orange area is likely to see water levels rise high enough to cause flooding in the structure. Whether this actually happens will depend on many factors but the Addicks levels are expected rise beyond the orange level on the map.

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    • They are on the south side of the reservoir near the Westpark Tollway. At this point the Army Corp of Engineers believes that Baker will peak at 101.7, well short of the 104 needed to reach the emergency spillway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My community is right next these spillway. Why there were no evacuation orders when they believed the peak will be at 104ft? Our Cinco Mud 8 forgot to turn the pumps on and the flood water is not drained yet from our streets and the water is up to garage levels. Thankfully the water is not going to be spilled otherwise we will be flooded a lot. We are unable to contact Cinco Mud 8 to turn the pumps on. Any help is much appreciated. thank you.

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      • Your area is not in ESD 48’s response area and is covered by Community VFD but I can tell you that emergency spillway was never used and the release gates are on the opposite side of the reservoir near Hwy 6 and Briar Forest and did not affect your area.

        Barker and Addicks release gates.

        Fort Bend Office of Emergency Management did issue voluntary evacuations orders over the weekend for the area you are in but many did not heed these warnings. There are no pumps that any MUD has that can handle the reservoir backing up into these neighborhoods so although I understand your frustration, directing it at Cinco MUD 8 is misdirected. These water levels will continue to be elevated until enough water can be released from the reservoir but that may take weeks.

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  3. This is the best update for the area I’ve seen so far. I have many high school friends who have moved away and parents still live in the neighborhood (older folks who aren’t as adept to scrolling through the internet for credible and specific updates). Getting good information when you’re not in town while discussing the situation with their families is so difficult. I’ve sent this post to many of them. Thank you so much for your service!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank You God for allowing us to survive this tragedy, and blessing us with an awesome community that is willing and able to help. Papa thank You for allowing the water from the reservoir to recede quickly and keeping the people that are downstream safe and dry also. We ask Papa in this time for peace, comfort and healing and confidence to know that everything is going to be alright. We love You Lord, in Jesus name we pray.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s hard to find my subdivision on your map. I cannot enlarge it enough to view. I live in Memorial Parkway and until last night we still had not received any high waters from the reservoir. Does that mean we are in the clear? Thanks for your help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That area is outside our District so I do not have accurate information for that area but our last report was that Addicks was structurally sound and outside of the area around the emergency spillway on the northeast corner they did not anticipate the reservoir overflowing.

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  6. Sandy sage court and At water canyon in n Geandlake are still flooded, every where else (roads) around us are complete dry. I think we need the water pumped out to be able to get our cars out to be able to mobile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandy Sage Ct. is just outside of our area in Community VFD’s territory but I can tell you that the flooding, unlike normal localized rain events, is due to the level of Barker reservoir and there is no way to “pump it out” as the level will remain elevated until the reservoir can be drained over time.

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  7. What is the source of the image with the light blue overlay? I can tell the light blue extends a bit more to the west, but it is cropped out in above photo. A link to the original source would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I live on 2255 Eldridge Pkwy (West End) and we are seeing flooding on the roads now. You think there will be structural flooding here? This is in the orange area on map

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Do you have any projection on how high the water rose in those subdivisions homes on the western edge of Barker Reservoir for those affected subdivisions between Westheimer Parkway & Mason Rd bordering Fry Rd.

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    • The Barker Reservoir peaked out today at about 101.6 feet. It will be at elevated levels for a long time but any homes that have not experienced flood waters up to this point should stay dry.

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  10. Does anyone know what the water levels look like in the Kelliwood neighborhoods? What was the peak height of flooding in those homes? Can someone keep us updated on when it is safe to drive back and assess the damage? Thanks!

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    • Stuart, it all depends on which kelliwood neighborhood and in some cases which side. The water in Barker peaked at 101.6 Tuesday morning and has seen come down to 101.43 as of 5:30 Tuesday. We do not expect water levels to rise again so if a home is dry now it should stay that way.

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    • My neighborhood is called “Estates at Willow Fork Greens.” Street is Frostmeadow Ct. My house had 6 inches of water when we evacuated yesterday by boat, but the warden in the boat said there could be 9 more feet (not sure how that is possible).

      Anyway, if anyone knows whether it is safe to try to drive on Fry Road south of Westheimer, let me know.

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  11. Pingback: Barker and Rescue operations and Warning update (8/30/17) | Harris County ESD 48 Fire Department

  12. I live in Grand Lakes between Mason and Rainwood Park. My house probably has a couple of feet of water so far. The coast guard won’t allow people to return for any reason. Wondering dam releases are helping or hurting this area and if water is rising or diminishing? Any idea how long predicted before we may view damages?

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    • Unfortunately, that is just outside our District so I can not speak to when you might have access in that area but the flood waters are not expected to drop below 97 feet (where the lowest elevation home is flooded) until at least September 7th.

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  13. HCESD representatives in high water trucks are going through neighborhoods announcing the “County” is cutting power in all neighborhoods in the Barker basin, even though the electricity is on, water is not in homes and the water is receding. Other entities like the Constable and MUD have not been notified that the County is doing this. What is the real story?

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    • We are about to post about that on our Facebook page and Nextdoor. After consulting with CenterPoint, it is not possible sufficiently target only the homes under water without affecting homes that are dry so any plans to do so have been ruled out.

      Like

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