Across the United States, urban flooding is becoming more frequent and severe, with increasingly serious impacts to stormwater infrastructure, vulnerable neighborhoods, local and regional economies, and public health. Chronic to extreme, disruptive to catastrophic – urban flooding is rapidly becoming this nation’s number one factor contributing to increased future flood risk. Resilience in the face of this progressively serious problem demands attention and action now.
Urban flooding is not new, but it is different than how we experienced it a decade ago. Intensified by sea level rise and changing precipitation patterns, urban flooding is more frequent and intense, with underlying infrastructure designed to handle much smaller flooding events. The water has nowhere to go. As a result, major sectors of our economy are adversely impacted and people living and working in these more densely populated flood-prone areas are at increasing risk.
To catalyze attention and action, the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) Foundation has published "Urban Flooding: Moving Towards Resilience. A Summary Report based on the 6th Assembly of the Gilbert F. White National Flood Policy Forum.” The report draws from the wide-ranging discussions that took place during the foundation-sponsored forum last year and attended by more than 100 experts from local, state, and federal agencies; professional associations and environmental groups; and private sector organizations. It includes examples of time-critical efforts taking place now to prepare for future conditions that could be very different from today.
The report offers practical suggestions for obtaining better data and information, involving vulnerable populations in planning decisions, and exploring funding and financing opportunities to identify and advance solutions. Its summary policy and program recommendations focus on integrated approaches and immediate next steps, including organizing an urban flooding summit in 2021 to address more in-depth the issues and jump-start needed changes.
Download a copy of the report. Please take a few minutes to download and read it. Then take a few more minutes to think about the role that you, and your agency or organization, could play in further discussions and idea sharing to collaboratively solve this complex problem.