Flooding Issues with
BY MATT MANGES
Founded as a sugar plantation in the early 20th cen- tury and incorporated in 1959, the City of Sugar Land is the economic center of Fort Bend County in
Texas. In the early 1970s, as the city expanded, a new subdivision development called Covington Woods was constructed. Over the next few decades, Sugar Land continued its rapid residential and commercial growth, becoming one of the
most affluent cities in the state. Between 2000 and 2010, the
city grew a whopping 158 percent, according to census data.
As a result, the Covington Woods region is mostly developed with very little open property. Every year, the region is
hit by intense thunderstorms with an annual rainfall of approximately 50 inches. Additionally, the drainage infrastructure was developed prior to current development criteria and
is in need of updating. With an almost entirely flat topography, the region has historically faced drainage problems due
to varying storm sewer capacity issues and inadequate overland sheet flow paths.
Over the last decade, forward-thinking leaders at the city
have been making substantial progress to reduce these flood-
ing issues. In 2007, the city adopted its first Master Drainage
Plan (MDP) that established criteria for evaluating, scoring
and ranking drainage problems. From 2009 to 2011, the city
proceeded to develop its integrated stormwater management
model utilizing GIS and LIDAR data and Info Works to gener-
ate a high-level, city-wide model that would provide a start-
ing point for identification of hot spots within the drainage
system that would need further investigation. In 2013, the
city hired Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc. (LAN), a na-
tional civil engineering firm based in Houston, to study the
Covington Woods region as a whole, including its interaction
with other interconnecting drainage systems, and recom-
mend future drainage improvements.
“Previous studies and improvements within the Covington Woods region studied selected portions of the region or
attempted to address sub‐regional issues,” said Chris Steubing, P.E., C.F.M., assistant city manager at City of Sugar
Basin weir and concrete rip rap. Photo courtesy of LAN.
Berm transition to weir. Photo courtesy of LAN.