Early Spring Floods Focus the Need for Major Reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program

As our hearts go out to those Ohio residents who continue to recover from early spring flooding, it emphasizes how important the National Flood Insurance Program is.

The National Flood Insurance Program was established to help communities afford the cost of insuring against inevitable floods and flooding, but in many ways it has only made things worse. The Smarter Safer Coalition is working on fixing these flaws and making the needed reforms. 

Sub-market insurance rates send false signals about the risks of living in flood-prone areas and encourage development in dangerous places. Meanwhile, taxpayers are subsidizing people to live in harm’s way and damage our “natural defenses”— those natural resources like wetlands and flood plains that help protect us from flooding. And, the costs of flood damages are increasing every year and have reached an estimated $15 billion on average.

In a changing climate, American Rivers recognizes that we must:  

(1) protect and restore our natural defenses (rivers, floodplains, wetlands, upland and coastal areas) to safeguard communities from floods;
(2) prevent new development in floodplains, especially behind levees and below dams;
(3) acknowledge, map, and communicate residual risk associated with levees and dams; and
(4) increase synergies between ecosystems and communities to enhance community and environmental resiliency.

But we also recognize that we can’t make the needed reforms alone.  To learn more about the program and the Coalition’s roadmap for reform, visit the Smarter Safer Coalition’s site.