Bob Rehak isn’t a flood mitigation expert by trade, but after witnessing the devastation caused in Kingwood during Hurricane Harvey, he’s dedicated the last five years to investigating the causes of flooding and trying to stop another disaster.
The retired businessman has lived in Kingwood for nearly 40 years and launched his blog Reduce Flooding in the aftermath of the historic storm.
“It didn’t use to flood, at least not like this,” Rehak said. “ Over the years I’ve watched floods from ‘94, 2001 tropical storm Allison, Tax Day, Memorial Day, Harvey, Imelda they just seem to be getting higher and higher and higher.”
His home is two miles from the San Jacinto River and he was shocked when floodwaters reached his driveway.
“When we saw water at the edge of our driveway and saw the Cajun Navy launching rescue boats from our driveway, I just could not believe it. I said, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, I’ve gotta figure out what’s going on here,’” Rehak recalled.
His writing and research is focused on why Kingwood floods more frequently and what can be done about it.
“One of the main things that still needs to be done is we need to get more flood gates on the Lake Houston dam,” he added.
Rehak uses his drone and rents helicopters for a bird’s eye view. He’s taken 33,000 photographs documenting the state of Houston area lakes and rivers after Harvey.
Using his blog to share information with his neighbors, he also encourages and empowers them to speak up and advocate for more city, state, and federal resources to protect Kingwood.
“I wanted to do everything I could within my power to help educate people about the causes of flooding so they could do something about it and hopefully help prevent it again in the future. I’m hoping we can reduce flood risk back to a manageable level,” Rehak said.