Organization created after Hurricane Harvey aims to help victims of the storm
Bob Rehak is not a flood mitigation expert by trade, but after witnessing the devastation wrought in Kingwood during Hurricane Harvey, he has dedicated the past five years to investigating the causes of the floods and trying to stop another disaster.
The retired businessman has lived in Kingwood for nearly 40 years and started his blog Reduce flooding after the historic storm.
“There was no flooding, at least not like this,” Rehak said. “Over the years I’ve watched the 1994 floods, 2001 Tropical Storm Allison, Tax Day, Memorial Day, Harvey, Imelda, they just seem to get higher and higher.”
His home is two miles from the San Jacinto River and he was shocked when floodwaters reached his driveway.
“When we saw water at the edge of our driveway and saw the Cajun Navy launching lifeboats from our driveway, I just couldn’t believe it. I said, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, I have to figure out what’s going on here,'” Rehak recalls.
His writings and research focus on why Kingwood floods more frequently and what can be done about it.
“One of the main things that still needs to be done is that we need to install more flood valves on the Lake Houston Dam,” he added.
Rehak uses his drone and rents helicopters for a bird’s eye view. He took 33,000 photographs documenting the state of lakes and rivers in the Houston area after Harvey.
By using his blog to share information with his neighbors, he also encourages and empowers them to speak up and advocate for more municipal, state and federal resources to protect Kingwood.
“I wanted to do everything in my power to help educate people about the causes of flooding so they can do something about it and hopefully help prevent it in the future. Hopefully we can bring the risk of flooding down to a manageable level,” Rehak said.
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