Cities ‘Game’ Federal Program Meant to Reduce Flood Risk

Cities ‘Game’ Federal Program Meant to Reduce Flood Risk

Thirty-one years ago, the federal government began rewarding communities that took action to minimize their flood risk with an innovative program that gives residents discounts on their flood insurance premiums. The Community Rating System is popular—roughly 3.5 million property owners are getting discounts on flood policies they buy through the federal National Flood Insurance Program because their government has done something noteworthy to reduce flood damage. Communities are rewarded for steps such as effectively informing residents of flood risk, requiring buildings in flood zones to be elevated and clearing floodplains of development. But only 1,500 of the 20,000 communities that offer federal flood insurance participate in the CRS program, reflecting the difficulty of joining. “There are a ton of good ideas in the CRS manual for reducing your flood risk,” Nelson said.

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