Drainage Hole-in-One (Stormwater Solutions Magazine)

By Abigail Stanhouse

A golf course built more than 50 years ago has become the solution for flooding and drainage issues for the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) in Houston.

Developed in the 1960s, the 178-acre golf course was a popular community amenity. The property is located between multiple subdivisions and is lined by residences. Even after the golf course closed, the residents continue to use the old golf cart paths for walking and jogging.

In 2005, when the owner decided to sell the property, local developers expressed interest in turning the golf course into a massive commercial development. With the community already experiencing drainage issues due to increased runoff from growth and development over the previous decades, drainage control was a high priority in the area, so residents approached the CLCWA, the local provider of water, sewage and drainage services. After hearing their concerns, in 2011, CLCWA purchased the golf course for $6.2 million and decided to convert it into a series of detention ponds to improve storm water management in the area.

The project, named Exploration Green in honor of the community’s local exploration legacy and its proximity to Johnson Space Center, features a series of lake-like detention ponds, abundant natural habitat with wetlands and native grass land areas, as well as hike-and-bike trails, athletic fields and other amenities. In December 2013, local residents and CLCWA partnered to create a nonprofit organization called the Exploration Green Conservancy Inc. to develop, preserve and protect the project’s green spaces. CLCWA hired Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc. (LAN) to prepare construction documents and oversee the construction of the Exploration Green detention facility.

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