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

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

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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.

Westfield Road in Charlotte, North Carolina
Westfield Road in Charlotte, North Carolina
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Property Buyouts Can Reduce Flood Impacts

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In 2021, President Joe Biden approved disaster declarations for more than 25 flood-related events. And over the past four years, all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and several U.S. territories have experienced floods that upended communities and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.

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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.