Learn about ways to help your community reduce flood risks.
Helping your community reduce flood risks is becoming more critical as floods become more frequent and extreme with climate change and sea level rise. Local officials can be encouraged to prioritize initiatives that defend against flooding; taking action locally to protect the community. Communities can also encourage state and federal officials to fund practical solutions and incentivize smart planning in state and federal programs.
Local officials can make a big difference simply by communicating the risks of flooding to their constituents. Resources like Flood Factor’s Community Risk Scores can be used by officials to better understand their community’s flood risk. It’s also important for local officials to create a basic plan to protect critical infrastructure. With bold leadership and smart planning, communities can limit the damage from flooding and protect their schools, hospitals, roads, and local economy.
Local action can also lower the cost of homeowners’ flood insurance premiums, helping them save hundreds of dollars each year. The National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that encourages communities to implement flood risk reduction measures that exceed the NFIP’s minimum requirements. Under the CRS, communities that take additional actions to reduce their flood risk can earn discounts on NFIP flood insurance policies for their residents.
Find the right solution
Across the country, communities are coming together to combat sea level rise and finding innovative and resourceful solutions. However, what works for one city may not work for another. Choosing the right solution will depend on factors like local climate, resources both natural and economic, and laws.
It’s important for cities and residents to be proactive because solutions take time to plan and execute. Knowing the issues flooding may pose today and 15–30 years from now will give flood-prone communities the time to prepare and find solutions that protect property, economy, and quality of life.
Community adaptation solutions
Investing in adaptation infrastructure is another way communities can reduce flood risk. Flood adaptation infrastructure are built works projects constructed in flood prone areas to mitigate the risk of flooding. Flood adaptation projects can generally be categorized as (1) traditional hard engineering or “grey” infrastructure, such as levees, dams, hardened ditches, etc., or (2) nature-based soft or “green” infrastructure projects designed to mimic nature, capturing and slowing the advance of floodwaters such as wetland creation, living shorelines, beach nourishment, bioswales, and mangrove planting. Policy-driven, non-structural flood adaptation such as managed retreat and FEMA’s buyouts and acquisitions program also exist.
Example of a levee; an embankment built to prevent the overflow of a river. Levees can also be built along low-lying coastal areas.