An analysis more than two decades ago by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that homeowners near two reservoirs in Houston might sue the Corps if they were flooded, as they were in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, but had little likelihood of success.
The assessment by the Corps in 1995 supported decisions at the time not to pursue upgrades to the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in west Houston.
The Houston Chronicle obtained a copy of the 11-page document.
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Corps officials believed that a storm that could inundate homes with floodwaters would be so rare that it didn't necessitate retrofitting dams to avoid potential flooding and litigation.
An Army Corps spokesman this week referred questions to the U.S. Department of Justice, which declined comment due to pending homeowner lawsuits.