Houston Launches Innovative Adopt-A-Drain Program

Houston Launches Innovative Adopt-A-Drain Program

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A unique project out of Houston, Texas, is encouraging citizens to take an active role in saving tax dollars by preventing future flooding issues near storm drains. Mayor Sylvester Turner and Amy Reed of Keep Houston Beautiful recently partnered to announce the launch of an Adopt-A-Drain program.

The city spends $13 million each year on storm-drain maintenance, inspection and repairs. As it plans for regional detention and large-scale drainage improvement projects to make the city more flood resilient, it also recognizes that all Houstonians can individually contribute in the efforts to reduce local street flooding.

“Anyone in the community can help by adopting a drain and promising to keep it free from leaves and trash, especially before it rains,” says Turner, “These are just small actions that can add up to make a big difference for our entire city.”

The mayor encourages Houstonians to adopt at least one of the 115,000 available storm drains. As Adopt-A-Drain partners, program participants are asked to keep their drain clear of leaves and trash by cleaning it at least four times a year, clean 10 feet on both sides of the drain, and compost or dispose of leaves and trash properly.

“The Adopt-A-Drain program is one that neighbors, families, civic groups and businesses can all take part in to make their community a better place to live, work and play,” says Reed. “Thanks to the help of our generous sponsors, Keep Houston Beautiful will host five events as a part of this program to distribute supplies and create educational materials for the Adopt-A-Drain program.”

Houston Public Works Director Carol Haddock says there always will be another storm. “This program will make a daily difference in the lives of our residents by making sure that your storm drainage system is ready for the next storm. Houstonians are our eyes and ears, and only you can help us know if an inlet top is broken or if a grade cover is missing.”

About the program

Houston’s Adopt-a-Drain program was one of the innovative solutions presented at the 2017 Houston Hackathon in partnership with Sketch City, a nonprofit community that advocates for civic technology and open data. More than 300 people including software developers, designers and data analysts attended the event. Attendees pitched ideas, formed teams and developed innovative new websites, mobile apps and insightful data visualizations to address community and city problems, including Houston’s Adopt-a-Drain.


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