With a year of unprecedented flooding in
This year alone floods damaged the state of
It impacted homes, farms, businesses, and schools in every single county.
And this isn't just an
It threatens lives, erodes financial well-being and it degrades the quality of life for folks across our state.
As the co-founders of the Iowa Flood Center, we are proud of the way our state responded to these flooding events, but we also know that in long term we have to develop solutions that recognize the increasing severity of storms and flood events.
Investing in flood protection is critical.
That's why, for example, after the 2008
This type of infrastructure is needed across the state, but it will only happen with support from our state and federal governments, and ideally, it needs to happen before a major flood event and not after.
For one thing, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides insurance for 22,000 communities, has seen 13 short-term extensions without any major reforms to actually help solve the underlying issues of solvency and sustainability within the program.
The problem is difficult as bringing the program to solvency may necessitate steep increase in insurance rates.
On the other hand, the rates need to reflect the actual risk that many people are experiencing.
Assessing this risk and associated cost-benefit of flood protection levees, is complicated.
For example, in the
Who should be protected? To what level should the protection be provided? And who should pay for this protection?
These are all difficult and, in some cases, unresolved questions.
There are two bipartisan proposals in the
The creation of a
This self-replenishing and sustainable fund would be available to communities, homeowners, businesses and nonprofits for preparations such as elevating structures, buying out properties in high-risk areas and other flood-mitigation activities.
It would also leverage local dollars to make sure all government units have skin in the game.
A second important proposal is the Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act (S. 2088).
It would offer critical protection of taxpayer and policyholder dollars through targeted attention and assistance to repeatedly flooded areas.
Repeatedly flooded properties have historically represented only 1 percent of the National Flood Insurance Program policyholders, though they account for roughly 20 to 30 percent of the claims.
This law would require communities with more than 50 repeatedly flooded properties to put plans in place to improve floodplain management and mitigation to reduce flooding risk of these homes.
We hope that
Improvements like these reduce flood risk and better prepare our residents and communities for the next time floodwaters begin to rise.
The time is now, especially before the memories of 2019's flooding recede.
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