California’s extensive flood management system reduces risk and protects communities from potentially catastrophic flooding and loss of life and property. The flood system is operated by numerous entities, both public and private, and must be continually updated and improved upon through a series of projects that provide for public health and safety and protect the environment.
In an effort to address the challenges of climate change and continuing growth in floodplains, flood management projects are increasingly complex and expensive. Projects must meet today’s ecological and human needs, while anticipating future challenges. Sustainable flood management solutions require the cooperation and sustained commitment of all Californians.
Throughout California, flood management projects provide essential protections for:
- Urban, small community, and rural lands
- Public safety
- Fisheries and wildlife habitats
- Water quality
- Water supply reliability
- Improved recreation and open space opportunities
- Delta Levees reduce the occurrence and consequences of flooding to protect life and important assets. These include water quality, aqueducts, water supply conveyance, the ecosystem, highways, and assets on the islands. We implement these projects through the Delta Levees Program.
- System-Wide Flood Improvements reduce flood risks, enhance ecosystem, and increase flood system flexibility, resiliency and sustainability. We fill the state role when implementing these projects, which are consistent with the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan .
- Rural and Small Community Local Assistance provide grants to local agencies for rural, small community, and nonstructural projects.
- Urban Flood Protection reduces the occurrence and consequences of flooding for the urban areas protected by the State Plan of Flood Control (SPFC). We partner with the United State Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, and local agencies to implement these projects.
- Statewide Projects improve flood protection outside the Central Valley and study the feasibility of and implement flood projects. We cost-share and implement these projects with USACE and local agencies through programs such as the Local Levee Assistance Program.
Nonstructural flood management measures are physical and non-physical actions that adapt to the natural floodplain without changing the characteristics of the flood. Nonstructural flood measures reduce the impacts associated with flooding and property damage, which increases life safety. Examples of nonstructural actions or projects include:
- Removing or relocating buildings from high-risk floodplains to low-risk floodplains
- Elevating buildings above known high-risk flood depths
The advantages of nonstructural measures compared to structural measures are:
- Nonstructural measures are sustainable over the long term with minimal costs for operation, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, and replacement
- Elevating, acquiring, and wet flood-proofing buildings are effective ways to reduce residual flood risk
- Many physical actions can be implemented by building owners to proactively reduce their flood risk
Nonstructural actions fall into these general categories:
- Planning activities and regulations: building codes and floodplain management ordinances
- Land use: avoiding building in floodplains or restoring wetlands
- Disaster preparedness and flood risk communication: emergency response plans or annual flood notifications
- Building design or modification: dry or wet flood-proofing
- Project-site oriented: constructing- nonstructural berms or flood walls to protect buildings
- Flood warning and emergency response: using a reverse 911 system
- Flood recovery: debris removal