Flood Planning and Studies

Over the last 60 years, California has experienced more than 30 major flood events, resulting in more than 300 lives lost, more than 750 injuries and billions of dollars in disaster claims.

Today, more than 7 million Californians, or 1 in 5, live in the 500-year floodplain, and approximately $580 billion in assets (crops, structures, and public infrastructure) are exposed to flooding. This estimate does not include the impacts of future development, population changes, climate change, or costs due to loss of major infrastructure and critical facilities, as well as losses to state commerce.

With many more structures per square mile in our urban areas, California would likely see much higher recovery costs from a major storm than the $110 billion that has been spent on recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Flood disasters are an unfortunate reality in California. That is why DWR’s flood management planning efforts focus on reducing flood risk, increasing system resiliency to address the impacts of climate change, and improving operations and maintenance of the flood management system. We work closely with State and federal partners, local agencies, communities, and agricultural and environmental stakeholders to identify local, regional, and statewide flood risks; propose solutions; and develop investment strategies for addressing flood risks throughout the state.

Statewide Flood Management Planning

DWR's Statewide Flood Management Planning (SFMP) program works with organizations across the State to develop flood management policies and guide financial investments to protect people and property from flooding.

In partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we developed California's Flood Future: Recommendations for Managing the State's Flood Risk,  a comprehensive look at flooding throughout the state.

California’s Flood Future provides the first look at statewide exposure to flood risk, and identifies and addresses the barriers to improved flood management. It seeks to inform decisions about policies and financial investments to improve public safety, foster environmental stewardship, and support economic stability.

More than 140 local, state, and federal agencies responsible for flood management provided information used to describe the problem and develop recommended solutions. The report includes a highlights document, main report, seven technical attachments (or technical memoranda) and a comprehensive mapbook.

California's Flood Future was developed as a companion plan to the California Water Plan Update 2013. To learn more about how California's Flood Future findings and recommendations are used, visit Flood in California Water Plan.

Other primary flood planning efforts include:

Released 12/10/2021

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Contact Information

For information about the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, Basin-wide Feasibility Studies, CVFPP Conservation Strategy, and Regional Flood Management Planning:

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For information about Statewide Flood Management Planning:

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