Flood Mitigation Can Prepare Communities, Limit Risk, and Reduce Disaster Costs

Resources to help federal, state, and local governments act before waters rise

Flood Mitigation Can Prepare Communities, Limit Risk, and Reduce Disaster Costs
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Marty Caivano Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

When communities prioritize mitigation before a flood, they help keep their residents safe, decrease recovery costs, and minimize the harm to local economies and the environment. Since 2000, flood-related disasters in the U.S. have cost more than $850 billion, and experts predict that these events will increase in frequency and intensity.

Research shows that every $1 invested in mitigation saves an average of $6 in recovery costs, but mitigation efforts, such as removing properties from flood-prone areas, increasing green space, and restoring and protecting flood plains, remain insufficient nationwide. All levels of government must invest in policies and programs that encourage communities to minimize the cost and devastation of floods.

For more information on Pew’s work to support pre-disaster mitigation and how communities across the country are implementing policies and plans, see the resources below.

Milwaukee City Hall green roof
Milwaukee City Hall green roof
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Milwaukee's Back-to-Nature Strategy to Lower Flood Risk

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As director of Milwaukee’s Environmental Collaboration Office, Erick Shambarger works to guide the city’s approach to improved sustainability and resilience to storms.

OUR WORK

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States of Innovation

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Agenda for America

A collection of resources to help federal, state, and local decision-makers set an achievable agenda for all Americans

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.

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Mitigation Matters: Policy Solutions to Reduce Local Flood Risk

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Since 2000, floods have cost the United States more than $845 billion in damage to homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure. The expense of adapting to more frequent and severe storms is projected to rise over the next several decades, placing a premium on the need to take action now to reduce the impacts of future floods.