Flood Hazard Management: British and International Perspectives

By John Handmer | Go to book overview

13

FLOODPLAIN MAPPING AND BEYOND: A STATE PERSPECTIVE

Marguerite M. Whilden

Water Resources Administration,

Maryland Department of Natural Resources


ABSTRACT

Accurate risk identification is a first step in flood hazard alleviation. To this end the US Federal Government has funded floodplain mapping for use as the basis of local flood hazard management throughout the country. It is a fundamental part of the US approach to flood alleviation that management is best achieved at the local level of government.

Once the flood problem has been identified by floodplain maps, effective hazard management involves three major themes: control of future development; management of existing flood damage potential; and comprehensive watershed management to avoid increasing the physical flood risk.


INTRODUCTION

In the United States it has been determined that flood hazard management is best achieved at the local level of government. Through the National Flood Insurance Program, the Federal government has spent nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in delineating floodplains for use as the key element in local flood hazard management programmes throughout the US. The justification for this public expenditure is the fact that without accurate flood risk identification (i.e. floodplain boundary maps and flood elevations) flood hazards cannot be alleviated or managed. Dr. Gilbert F. White, of the US Natural Hazards Research and Application Centre (Boulder, Colorado), states that flooding is the one natural hazard which can be managed and avoided due to our ability to define and map flood risk areas. However, death and property damage continue to increase indicating that while floodplain mapping is essential to flood hazard management at any level of government, flood maps must be further

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