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When it Rains

Lois Perucca

Sound | c. 1979

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  •  Carle Bensen describes Houston's physical geography 
  •  Excess rain water can be detrimental 
  •  Flat land with clay-based soil floods easily when it rains 
  •  Houston's skyline 
  •  20th century asphalt and concrete does not absorb rainfall 
  •  Dangerous floods occured until man made adjustments 
  •  "Man had to help nature deal with the changes man had brought." 
  •  What is considered heavy rainfall in Houston? How is it measured? What about its frequency? Benson describes 25 year and 100 year floods. 
  •  Houston's neighborhood sewer and storm diagrams 
  •  Improving the Bayous 
  •  What happened in 1970? 
  •  Houston's flooding problems got worse 
  •  Proposed solutions 
  •  Detention/Holding Ponds 
  •  Channel improvement the key to flood control 
  •  Call to action 
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This film, narrated by actor Carle Bensen, presents Houstonians with a comprehensive look at their city's flood control infrastructure, put in place to deal with the heavy rains typical to the area. Due to natural factors such as a flat, low-lying topography and high clay content in the soil, as well as rapid urbanization, Houston has a history of flooding, and flood control projects, dating back as far as 1908. The film educates viewers about flood control systems in place, discussing strengths and weaknesses of the flood drain, storm sewer, bayou, channel, and pond system. It also recounts the physical and economic damage caused by flooding in the 1970s, the consequence of failure to continue to implement flood control improvements. In the end, the film is a plea to get back to the plan, urging the public to take action by voting on bond and tax allocations for drainage projects, and contacting their public officials to support the issues. Part of the TAMI library via the Patrick S. Coakley, Jr. Collection.