RPS led a team to help the City of Houston revolutionize its approach to storm water management, which significantly impacts public safety, infrastructure and construction in the city where more than 50 inches of rain falls annually. The Storm Water Enhanced Evaluation Tool (SWEET) combines Geographic Information System (GIS) tools with the City’s information databases to produce an objectively ranked list and map showing where drainage and flood control measures are most needed. Using databases that are regularly updated, SWEET provides a dynamic and current tool that has since been expanded to include roadway conditions, traffic volumes and 33 million feet of open drainage systems. For the first time, the City can characterize and compare the need for drainage and flood control improvements, roadway conditions and traffic volumes in one place at one time and make an objective, informed decision about where to spend its limited resources. The transparent process removes subjectivity from annual infrastructure budgeting, with fact-based ranking enabling all districts to be treated fairly and the worst areas to be elevated to the top of the list. The diverse SWEET team included expertise in hydrology, software design, GIS technology, economic evaluation and public involvement, and sub-consultants included Isani Consultants, Kit Professionals and The Clifford Group.
This project was awarded a 2016 ACEC Texas Engineering Excellence Gold Medal.