The federal government invested $1 billion from 2003 to 2008 to modernize the nation’s floodplain maps, with even more money coming from state and local government. After the effort was underway, concerns about accuracy caused a mid-course adjustment to standardize and validate the accuracy of these maps. While progress has been made for better accuracy and greater coverage, the $1 billion spent wasn’t enough to adequately update these maps.
A new report titled, MAPPING THE ZONE: IMPROVING FLOOD MAP ACCURACY, was released today from the National Research Council, through a committee led by David Maidment. FEMA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asked the Research Council to assess the costs and benefits of producing more accurate flood maps and recommend ways to improve mapping, communication, and management of flood-related data. The committee found that considerable loss of life, destroyed property and businesses, and repairs to infrastructure could be avoided by replacing Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps with ones that contain high-accuracy and high-resolution land surface elevation data.
Among the reports conclusions are that more accurate topographic data, with hydrology and hydraulics modeled, will better portray flood hazard and mitigate risk. The committee suggests that better coastal flood modeling, with considerations for wave action, should be adopted. They also recommend that FEMA should commission a study on technology and metrics to communicate and analyze flood risk.
You can get your own copy of the report here.