Our History

Since the early settlement of Houston, residents have had to contend with flooding. While the potential for flooding will always be present in our area, with expert engineering and planning, the Harris County Flood Control District (Flood Control District) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have steadily worked to reduce the risk and damages resulting from flooding events.

In the mid 1980's the Corps conducted a watershed study, examining Buffalo Bayou and surrounding watersheds, their findings concluded a flood damage reduction project would be extremely beneficial to the community, outweighing the costs. As a result, the Corps joined forces with the Flood Control District and began work on the Brays Bayou Federal Flood Damage Reduction Project, now known as Project Brays.

As of today, Project Brays is nearing completion. With new approaches and state-of-the-art technology, flood damage reduction is more effective and efficient than ever before. Residents and businesses along Brays Bayou can look forward to benefiting from the Project Brays initiative, a $480,000,000 project, in the coming years.

  • October 1843

    Major flooding along Brays Bayou, resulting in all bridges leading into the city being underwater.

  • December 1913

    Large storm causes Brays Bayou to flood, forcing hundreds of area residents to evacuate their homes.

  • September 1919

    Canoes and small boats are the primary transportation near Rice University after a storm floods Brays Bayou.

  • April 1929

    9.5 inches of rainfall causes extreme damage to many residences and businesses along Brays Bayou.

  • August 1932

    Extensive rainfall from a hurricane leads to flooding along Brays Bayou.

  • October 1943

    Brays Bayou overflows due to intense rain, causing Bellaire and southeast Houston to be underwater and flooding 11,500 homes.

  • August 1945

    Heaviest rainfall recorded in Harris County to date caused widespread evacuations.

  • May 1946

    Over 4 inches of rain recorded in just two hours due to intense rainstorm, flooding many areas.

  • October 1949

    Heavy rains produce over 10 inches of rain recorded in 24 hours with damages estimated at $5 million.

  • October 1959

    Major thunderstorms lead to flooding and damage to more than 100 homes causing an estimated $1 million in damages.

  • June 1976

    Rainfall reaches 13 inches along Brays Bayou, leaving the Texas Medical Center with heavy damages.

  • November 1978

    Major thunderstorm causes flooding along several bayous across Harris County, producing minor damages to surrounding homes.

  • August 1981

    Brays Bayou rises out of its banks in some areas causing many homes to flood near the upper portions of the watershed.

  • September 1983

    Record level flooding is recorded along Brays Bayou, leaving approximately 1,000 homes and other structures flooded.

  • Mid 1980’s

    In the mid 1980’s US Corp of Engineering started studies of Brays Bayou.

  • March 1992

    Record level flooding is recorded along Brays Bayou, leaving over 300 homes flooded.

  • 1993

    The first shovels to move dirt started in 1993 at Beltway 8 Detention Basin, later becoming Arthur Storey Park.

  • October 1994

    Moderate flooding is recorded along Brays Bayou, flooding about 100 homes.

  • Mid 1990s

    Design and engineering work was started on Brays Bayou.

  • June 2001

    Tropical storm brings record rainfall, causing over $5 billion in damages citywide, making it the costliest tropical storm in U.S. history. Five-day rainfall exceeded 20 inches within the Brays Bayou watershed.

  • 2004

    Excavation of the main channel begins.

  • 2005

    The Brays Bayou freshwater marsh is completed at Mason Park. 

  • 2007

    Old Westheimer Detention Basin Completed 2007

  • September 2008

    Hurricane Ike strikes Galveston Island, causing more than $28 billion in damages.

  • 2008

    U-turn at the Broadway Bridge is modified.

    Aurthor Storey Park Detention Basin is completed.

    The channel excavation is completed from the Ship Channel to Lawndale and from Calhoun to Ardmore.

  • April 2009

    April 17-28 brings extensive flooding; Some highways close and water went out of banks along Brays Bayou. 100’s of structures flood on Bray Bayou. HCFCD records 24-hour rainfall of 7.6 inches at Brays Bayou and Bellaire.

  • 2010

    The channel excavation is completed from Lawndale St to Old Spanish Trail.

  • 2013

    The channel excavation is completed from Ardmore Street to Holcombe Blvd.

  • May 2015

    More than 6,000 structures flooded and seven fatalities as a result of the highest rainfall recorded in Buffalo and Brays watersheds, with nearly 11 inches in 3 hours on Brays Bayou.

  • 2015

    • Eldridge Detention Basin is completed.

    • The channel excavation is completed from Old Spanish Trail to Lidstone St.

    • Lidstone St Bridge is replaced.

  • April 2016

    Historic flooding occurs during the Tax Day Flood with an average of 12 to 16 inches of rain in 12 hours countywide.

  • May 2016

    Memorial Day Flood North and northwest Harris County hit with 8-13 inches of rain.  Overbank and structural flooding along Willow Waterhole Bayou and Brays Bayou.  More than 400 structures flood in Harris County.

  • August 2017

    Hurricane Harvey causes catastrophic flooding in Southeast Texas and Louisiana. Inflicting $125 billion in damages, it became the costliest hurricanes on record. In a four-day period, many areas received more than 40 to 60 inches of rainfall. With peak accumulations of 60.58 inches in Nederland, Texas, Harvey was the wettest Hurricane on record in the United States. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, which displaced more than 30,000 people and prompted more than 17,000 rescues.

  • 2017

    The channel excavation is completed from Holcombe Blvd to upstream of Buffalo Speedway.

  • 2018

    The channel excavation is complete from upstream of Buffalo Speedway to upstream of IH-610.

  • September 2019

    Tropical Storm Imelda formed quickly just off the Brazoria County coast, 15 miles southwest of Freeport, TX around Noon on Tuesday, September 17th. The storm moved inland near Freeport, TX shortly after becoming a tropical storm. No structural flooding was recorded in the Brays Watershed as a result of Tropical Storm Imelda.

  • 2019

    • Willow Waterhole Detention Basin is completed.

    • Forest Hill Bridge is replaced.