Modern, Flood-Ready Approach Needed for Building and Rebuilding

A collection of resources to help federal, state, and local decision-makers increase resilience for critical infrastructure, communities

Flood-Ready Approach for Building and Rebuilding
Emily Kask AFP/Getty Images

Losses from flood-related disasters across the United States have risen by more than $100 billion each decade since the 1980s, driven by increasingly severe weather, decay and neglect of infrastructure, and development in vulnerable areas. But the impacts of these disasters often extend beyond economic losses to include community-wide disruptions stemming from closed schools and businesses and inaccessible medical facilities.

However, policymakers can help mitigate many of these issues by strengthening flood-ready standards to ensure that structures and infrastructure are designed to last for decades and to withstand future threats. Many states and localities are already embracing this approach by incorporating long-term flood risk into comprehensive planning and increasing the margins of safety when building and rebuilding in vulnerable areas.

And most Americans support these actions: In a poll released in February 2020 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, 85% of respondents endorsed requiring that all federally funded infrastructure in flood-prone areas be designed to better withstand future flooding. The federal government is overdue to adopt this modern, flood-ready approach, which can protect infrastructure, homes, and businesses and save lives and taxpayer dollars.

These resources can help more states, communities, and federal policymakers ensure that the nation’s infrastructure is flood ready.


Americans Support Spending on Flood-Ready Infrastructure

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As Congress considers devoting hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars toward upgrading the nation’s roads, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure, an overwhelming majority of Americans—85 percent—endorse requiring that federally funded structures in flood-prone areas be designed to better withstand flooding.

Additional Resources

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.

Agenda for America

Resources for federal, state, and local decision-makers

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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.

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It's Time to Make U.S. Infrastructure Flood-Ready 

Timely Opportunities for Proactive Flood Policy

Federal action could result in long-lasting benefits for infrastructure and communities

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2019 was yet another year of historic flooding for communities from Nebraska to Louisiana and capped the costliest decade of flood-related disasters in U.S. history. In fact, the 2010s were the third straight decade in which costs from these types of disaster increased by more than $100 billion.


Business Owners Share Flood Stories in Call for Stronger National Standards

Devastating experiences inspire hundreds to advocate for better policies, more resilient infrastructure

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Small businesses are central to the country’s economy, providing goods and services while creating jobs and encouraging community growth. Small businesses also often find themselves at the forefront of the impacts of extreme weather events, including flooding.