Stormwater management and flooding will continue to be a pressing issue for many Pennsylvania municipalities, especially those in FEMA-identified floodplains and special hazard flood areas, and increasingly so as climate change increases the volume and frequency of wet weather events. Prohibiting construction in floodways and flood zones, and strictly regulating renovations in such areas, is critical to protecting the community from flood-related risk to human safety, property, and the environment.
Under FEMA, the National Flood Insurance Program offers communities a structured approach to improving its flood risk factors through the Community Rating System (CRS) program. Through CRS, flood-impacted communities in good standing with FEMA are eligible to receive community-wide reductions to flood insurance rates through qualified activities that educate the public, mitigate flood risk, and adapt to prepare for flood emergencies. By demonstrating its commitment to flood risk reduction through a wide range of activities, a municipality can secure community-wide flood insurance rate reductions of 5-45% while simultaneously improving their public safety operations and local disaster resilience.
While most municipalities do not have the in-house capacity to comprehensively study their water infrastructure systems, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can provide technical expertise in the form of watershed evaluations and recommendations to improve water infrastructure system functioning and prioritize capital improvements in flood-threatened communities.