Flood risk management is defined as managing both floodwaters to reduce the probability of flooding (that is, structural approaches such as levees and dams) and floodplains to reduce the consequences of flooding. The responsibility of managing the Nation’s flood risks does not lie exclusively with USACE or any other single Federal or non-Federal entity. Rather, responsibility is shared across multiple federal, state, tribal and local government agencies, with a complex set of programs and authorities, and private citizens.
Effective flood risk management requires the integration of mitigation planning, preparedness, response, and recovery programs and activities into a coordinated flood risk management cycle framework.
The world has changed from thinking we can “control” floods to “managing flood risks.” Early on, USACE worked on “controlling” floods to “reduce flood damages.” However, USACE is now taking a major step to “managing flood risk” with the understanding that flood risk management projects cannot completely eliminate all flood risk and that we cannot control floods.
Flood risk management activities cannot be considered in isolation. Effective water resources planning and management must often balance competing needs. An integrated approach to water resource planning considers flood risk management as one of many objectives needed in a watershed. Other objectives might include ecosystem restoration, water supply, hydropower, or navigation depending on the needs in the basin. A collaborative approach to water resource planning and management engages multiple competing stakeholders in the development of watershed management plans to fulfill these needs.