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Small Number of Repeatedly Flooded Properties Account for Much of Flooding’s Cost

New policies may be needed to encourage more responsible development and keep builders from constructing structures that will inevitably be flooded.
November 1, 2016, 1pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Flood waters from the Stillaguamish River in Stanwood, Washington.

While floods can happen quickly, and the specifics of any individual flood can be surprising, they do happen regularly. According to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, "Flooding is the most costly and most common natural disaster in the United States."

Some of the cost may be mitigated by regulation and development. Some properties face flooding again and again, and the costs of these disasters add up. According to the story, "1 in 10 repeatedly flooded properties have received payments worth more than their value." Because some areas are more likely to flood than others, the piece argues there may be a way to create laws that lessen the property damage. It goes on to say, "The Pew Charitable Trusts supports proactive policy solutions that will break the cycle of repeated flooding and rebuilding in order to better prepare people and property for natural disasters, improve public safety, and put the NFIP [National Flood Insurance Program] on stronger financial footing."

What is not covered in the Pew piece is the political cost of keeping those who have suffered a natural disaster, or many disasters, from rebuilding. Even if policies might make logical sense, they may be difficult for public servants to enact. 

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Published on Thursday, October 6, 2016 in Pew Charitable Trusts
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