Actions your government can take

There’s an old saying in business, “a confused mind never buys.”

Frankly, things get done when the message is simple, makes common sense, and is supported by many. It’s important to use a simple framework when advocating. Most of what we are asking for is common sense. Flooding might be complicated, but we have decomplexified it for you.

We just have to ask the right questions. It’s the government’s job to have the answers (although we will have that as well).


Decomplexify: (verb) Turn complex into common sense

"If you don't know where you are going, you might
end up someplace else."
-Yogi Berra


flood_plan-1Have a plan


Most cities and counties in the US have very detailed transportation plans that detail what roads they are going to approve, how they will be funded, etc. However, very few have flood plans that are close to the same level.

What does a flood action plan need to have?

Identifies true flood risk

How many properties are at risk from flooding? Is flooding getting better or worse?

Lists specific projects

Lists specific projects, cost estimates, and clearly defines ownership. Houston lays it out as clear as day.

Sets achievable goals

How much will flood risk be lowered by the plan? How many homes will be protected? What is the timeline? Here is an example of a good plan.

Identifies funding sources

There are a number of funding sources as long as there’s leadership locally.

Specifies optimal land use

Smart rules around development can prevent increases in flood risk.

Keeps the public engaged

Simple overviews of plans should be available on public websites and referenced in communications with citizens.

What’s it going to cost? Less

According to National Institute Building Sciences, $1 of investment in flood prevention is worth $7 of cure. And, it creates lots of jobs! It’s only available to local governments who show leadership first. Tell your local officials not to wait, and get started today.

Your city should have an up-to-date stormwater plan that outlines what improvements are needed to keep up with growth and reduce flooding – most don’t. In fact, many cities don’t even know where all of their pipes are!

Planning Saves Money

Did you know that you can get up to a 45% decrease in your flood insurance bill if your city or county improves the Community Rating Score (CRS)?

1 oz Prevention = 1 lb Cure


infrastructure_1Invest in Smart Infrastructure and Buyouts

It is the government’s responsibility to put infrastructure in place that protects people and their property. Many cities and counties haven’t seen significant upgrades since the 1970s. Our communities are working with pipes and drainage systems designed for the needs of a different time – one in which they were supporting drastically smaller populations, and very different weather.
That’s unacceptable.


What can be done about it?

There are a number of different engineering solutions that reduce flood risk. In general, there are two approaches to handling water: green infrastructure, which uses plants and nature based approaches, and grey infrastructure that involves things like pipes, pumps and concrete.

If your local government has a plan in place, then they have the responsibility to fund it, and make it a reality. A good infrastructure plan should be transparent, and keep everyone up to date on progress. See how smart infrastructure dramatically reduced flooding in this Houston neighborhood.


Demand that your government make investments in protection today!

"First, do no harm" - Hippocrates


flooding-worseDon’t let new development
make flooding worse

Does your city have common sense rules in place that make sure new development doesn’t make flooding worse?

Flooding costs money, and existing homeowners shouldn’t have to pay for it when it wasn’t their fault. It’s time to collect the right amount of fees for construction that adds more stormwater by failing to add enough retention on site.. All too often, new construction makes flooding worse by shedding water on neighboring communities at lower elevations. Rather than allow endless new construction that leads to flooding, demand that new development pays for the cost of flooding impacts they create!


Make building standards better

Let’s face it, the flooding problem is getting worse, not better. It’s time to improve building and planning standards to reduce risk, save lives, and protect livelihoods. People have the right to know where previous floods have been, and flood risks are disclosed to homebuyers. We already disclose plenty of risks when buying a home, why wouldn’t we disclose the biggest of all?

stormwaterMaintain and repair
stormwater systems


Keep the drains clear!

It sounds too simple, but most local governments are not keeping storm drains clear.

Miami has found out that not maintaining drains has serious consequences. Palm Beach created a special trap to catch gunk flowing into their canal, but found worse issues when no one maintained it.

When sewer pipes aren’t properly maintained, they can develop cracks and gaps. This means water in the ground from a heavy rainstorm can enter the pipes, overloading treatment systems at the end during heavy rain events.

Infrastructure is only as good as its maintenance. It makes no sense to build something to protect the area and not ensure that it’s taken care of. We can’t reduce flooding with debris in the drains.

Fix leaky pipes

A well maintained stormwater system ensures that water moves through the system as quickly as possible and doesn’t show up in unexpected places.

clogged street drain
Storm water inspection vehicle

Did you know

Most cities don’t even know where all of their underground pipes are? Even though good maintenance and repair is far less expensive than waiting for disaster to strike. Charlotte, NC is using rovers to inspect their pipes.

Coastal Flooding Solutions

Coastal flooding might seem like an issue that can't
be avoided, but it's not

How to Protect Against
Flash Flooding

We may not be able to control mother nature, but we can lower the risk

We are Flood Defenders

A non-profit, non-partisan army of advocates for everyone affected by flooding