Streamline - Winter 2017 - 23

Floodplain Management
BY SCOTT MCNALLY, SOURCE WATER PROTECTION TECHNICIAN
IN THE PAST couple months, headlines in the news have been full of hurricanes and flooding that
have ravaged parts of the United States and other parts of the world. In terms of natural disasters,
floods are by far the most common, taking the lives of roughly 200 Americans every single year.
In the past, flooding has been the reason for presidential declarations of emergencies 90 percent of
the time. Floodplain development and management are two facets of the issue that greatly impact
the severity of floods. In the broadest sense, floodplains are relatively flat areas directly adjacent to
a river that provide space for water to overflow during a flooding event.

Annually,
flooding costs
American
taxpayers
billions of
dollars. A lot of
this is due to
development
within
floodplains
and a severe
lack of
permeable
surfaces in
urban design.

©BAXYS/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Development within a floodplain should be
avoided at all costs. Floodplains provide dozens
of economic and environmental services. They
improve property value because of natural aesthetics and increase recreational opportunities.
When floodplains are developed with impervious surfaces, the severity of a flood event will
increase dramatically.
Annually, flooding costs American taxpayers
billions of dollars. A lot of this is due to development within floodplains and a severe lack of
permeable surfaces in urban design. A prime
example of this is Houston, Texas, where severe
flooding made headlines back in September.
Although Houston was surprised by the recent
hurricane, this is not the first time severe flooding has occurred in that city. Houston has experienced three 500-year flooding events since
2015. Memorial Day weekends in 2015 and 2016
both saw severe flooding events, followed by
Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Originally, the areas
surrounding Houston were native grasslands
that facilitated a high degree of infiltration for
rainwater. The ever-increasing development of
Houston continues to further encroach on vulnerable wetlands and floodplains, further increasing
the severity of the issue.

Houston is also a prime example for some
of the economic and environmental costs of a
flooding event. Some of the direct costs include
taxpayer money spent on emergency services
and rescue efforts and cleanup and rebuilding
of public infrastructure. Rebuilding utilities
such as electrical, water and sewer after such a
catastrophic event can amount to millions of dollars. Some indirect costs of flooding include lost
wages for workers and lack of income for businesses. This has a severe impact on local economies. Flooding can also drastically decrease
the tax base in an area that has experienced an
extreme event. This is a big deal because that
taxpayer money is crucial for efforts to rebuild
infrastructure of an affected area. Many people
may be inclined to simply move away, leaving
the local municipality without adequate funds
to rebuild.
In Virginia, the Flood Damage Prevention Act
of 1989 sought to eliminate some of negative
effects of flooding events. Floodplain management programs in Virginia are under the control
of the Virginia Department of Conservation and
Recreation. The staff in charge of the Floodplain
Management Program are tasked with enforcing
Virginia Floodplain management zoning regulations. They can also work with localities on an
individual basis to create local standards that are
even stricter than state standards. This is a good
thing, however, since floodplain perseveration
can increase local property values and increase
local tax income though increased recreational
opportunities. Floodplain management is crucial to protecting our water sources and utility
infrastructure, and should be at the top of every
locality's priority list.
www.vrwa.org

23


http://www.vrwa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Winter 2017

From the President: Ammonia-Nitrogen
From the Executive Director: Your Most Important Tool
VRWA’s 2017 Expo
How to Pass a Certification Test – The First Time
Slips, Trips and Falls – Winter Safety Tips
Looking Forward to Being of Service
Floodplain Management
No Wipes in the Pipes
Going Green?
Need Cash? Check the Meter!
The Rate Setting Results…Are In
Introducing JumpStart – A New App for Operators to Test Their Skills Before Testing!
Throwing My Loop: Christmas Lights on the Barn!
VRWA Member Corner
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Benefits for VRWA Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Intro
Streamline - Winter 2017 - cover1
Streamline - Winter 2017 - cover2
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 3
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 4
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 5
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 6
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 7
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 8
Streamline - Winter 2017 - From the President: Ammonia-Nitrogen
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 10
Streamline - Winter 2017 - From the Executive Director: Your Most Important Tool
Streamline - Winter 2017 - VRWA’s 2017 Expo
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 13
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 14
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 15
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 16
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 17
Streamline - Winter 2017 - How to Pass a Certification Test – The First Time
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 19
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Slips, Trips and Falls – Winter Safety Tips
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Looking Forward to Being of Service
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 22
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Floodplain Management
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 24
Streamline - Winter 2017 - No Wipes in the Pipes
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 26
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Going Green?
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Need Cash? Check the Meter!
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 29
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 30
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 31
Streamline - Winter 2017 - The Rate Setting Results…Are In
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 33
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 34
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Introducing JumpStart – A New App for Operators to Test Their Skills Before Testing!
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 36
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Throwing My Loop: Christmas Lights on the Barn!
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 38
Streamline - Winter 2017 - VRWA Member Corner
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 40
Streamline - Winter 2017 - eLearning Benefits
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Membership Application
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Benefits for VRWA Members
Streamline - Winter 2017 - 44
Streamline - Winter 2017 - VRWA Committees
Streamline - Winter 2017 - Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Winter 2017 - cover3
Streamline - Winter 2017 - cover4
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