Downstream Reservoir Claims
The dams on the Addicks and Barker reservoirs are designed to remain open most of the time, closing only during rainfall events to prevent heavy flooding downstream in downtown Houston. During Hurricane Harvey, the dams were under serious renovation. Because of the dams’ deteriorating conditions, the pressure from the collected floodwaters put the dams at risk for catastrophic failure. To prevent such a failure, the government chose to open the dams and allowed floodwaters to inundate properties downstream of the dams. While the controlled dam releases prevented catastrophic failure of the dams, it also constituted a taking private property for public use. Property owners therefore have a right to compensation from the Federal Government for their damaged property under the Fifth Amendment.