Identifying the Future Costs of Flooding in the Houston-Galveston Region

Prepared by:

Wesley E. Highfield, Samuel D. Brody, Kayode Atoba, and Russell Blessing

Prepared for:

Texas General Land Office

Following Hurricane Ike, scientists, policy makers, and elected officials have been calling for a comprehensive coastal storm surge protection system for the Galveston Bay region. To date, several efforts have estimated benefit/cost ratios of multiple protection solutions—which have focused primarily on the direct economic impacts of a surge-related event in Galveston Bay. Although these results have been critical in demonstrating the effectiveness of a coastal spine from the perspective of avoided damages, other secondary, indirect benefits had yet to be evaluated. The following describes recent analytical efforts to better quantify these indirect benefits through four distinct research areas including: 1) assessing the economic implications of surge-driven damage related to a coastal spine, 2) determining potential changes in the costs of flood insurance, and 3) understanding socioeconomic behavior related to the establishment of a coastal spine. The following provides a brief summary of findings of each of these three areas of research under Texas GLO contract No. 18-159-000-A719.