Brays Bayou

Brays Bayou

Watershed Overview

Drainage Area Watershed Population Open Stream Miles Primary Streams
127 Sq. Miles 767,027 - Harris County portion (2020 Census Data) 121 Miles Brays Bayou
Keegans Bayou
Willow Waterhole Bayou

The Brays Bayou watershed is located in southwest Harris County and portions of Ft. Bend County and drains parts of the cities of Houston, Missouri City, Stafford, Bellaire, West University Place, Southside Place, and Meadows Place. The bayou flows eastward from Fort Bend County to its confluence with the Houston Ship Channel. 

This heavily urbanized watershed covers approximately 127 square miles and includes three primary streams: Brays Bayou, Keegans Bayou, and Willow Waterhole Bayou. There are about 121 miles of open streams within the watershed, including the primary streams and tributary channels. Based on the 2010 U.S. Census, the estimated population of the Harris County portion of the Brays Bayou watershed is 717,198.

Comprehensive planning for flood protection in the watershed and construction of flood damage reduction projects on and along Brays Bayou has occurred in the past and continues today. Severe flooding in the watershed has occurred on average at least once every decade. Because a majority of the urbanization occurred prior to the advent of floodplain regulations and prior to delineation of the 1% (100-year) floodplain, thousands of structures are now known to be in the currently mapped 1% (100-year) floodplain.

Land Use

The Brays Bayou watershed is fully urbanized, although several large urban parks and regions of open space are located within the watershed.

Currently, the Harris County Flood Control District is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) on a major flood damage reduction project called "Project Brays." Project Brays (or the Brays Bayou Flood Damage Reduction Project), is a multi-year, $480 million project that will substantially reduce the risks associated with flooding and bring relief to tens of thousands of residents, and also the many businesses and institutions in the Brays Bayou watershed.


Brays Bayou and most major tributaries are maintained to enhance their flow-carrying capacity and therefore reflect characteristics typical of an urban environment. A linear park featuring recreational facilities exists along the central portion of the bayou, and several other multi-use facilities either currently exist or are planned to be constructed by recreational sponsors, in conjunction with Project Brays.

How Water Flows In The Brays Bayou Watershed