ASFPM Updates Flood Mapping for the Nation

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Krista Melnar

Stormwater Engineer

The Association of State Floodplain Managers has issued an updated version of its report Flood Mapping for the Nation, estimating that the United States needs to spend $3.2 billion to $11.8 billion to complete flood mapping necessary to help communities across the country address hazards and save lives and property.

Analyses have shown that accurate, up-to-date flood mapping saves taxpayers $2 for every $1 invested by helping cities and states plan, design and prepare their infrastructure to reduce flood-related damages and losses. Although the U.S. has invested $6.6 billion ($10.6 billion in 2019 dollars) in flood hazard mapping, only one-third of the nation’s streams and 46 percent of its shoreline have been mapped.

Flood losses are expected to continue to rise because of more frequent episodes of heavy rainfall due to climate change and increased development in coastal areas. While maps won’t prevent floods, they can help public officials and individuals to make smart choices. As the report says, “Without complete or accurate flood maps, local officials face serious difficulties in guiding development away from the most hazardous areas or to ensure that development is properly built to protect lives and property.”

Read Flood Mapping for the Nation.

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Krista Melnar, PE, CFM, PMP, is the Stormwater Practice Leader in Austin.