US Army Corps of Engineers
Institute for Water Resources Website

Flood Risk Management Program


Partners in Shared Responsibility

Shared Responsibility in Flood Risk

Shared Responsibility for Flood Risk Management

Responsibility for flood risk management in the United States is a shared responsibility between multiple Federal, state, and local government agencies with a complex set of programs and authorities. Nationally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and many other Federal agencies, have programs to assist states and communities in reducing flood damages and promoting sound flood risk management.

The authority to determine how land is used in floodplains and to enforce flood-wise requirements is the responsibility of state and local government. Floodplain management choices made by state and local officials, in turn, impact the effectiveness of Federal programs to mitigate flood risk and the performance of Federal flood damage reduction infrastructure. One key challenge is to ensure that as the public and government leaders make flood risk management decisions, they integrate environmental, social, and economic factors and consider all available tools to improve public safety.

Importantly, we must ensure the public is educated both about the risks they face and the actions they can take to reduce their risks. Because of this complex arrangement of responsibilities, only a life-cycle, comprehensive and collaborative systems approach will enable communities to sustain an effective reduction of risks from flooding. For more information on the databases, programs and initiatives, and models and tools available to for the water resources community in the U.S. and internationally, please see the Federal Support Toolbox for Integrated Water Resources Management.

Local governments can reduce flood risks by adopting ordinances that guide development into less floodprone areas Local governments can reduce flood risks by requiring construction standards for buildings subject to flood hazards Preparing in advance for what to do during a flood can lead to better flood response and reduced flood risk Measures that help reduce flood consequences, such as flood warnings, flood preparedness, or elevating or relocating flood-prone buildings Structures built to reduce the likelihood of flooding, such as dams, levees and floodwalls; sometimes structures designed to prevent small, more frequent floods are mistakenly presumed to provide protection from large, rare floods Floodwaters naturally held back in lakes, ponds, and small depressions within a watershed can slow a flood and lessen its severity Flood risk awareness is a first step toward informed action that can reduce flood risk The likelihood and adverse consequences of flooding before steps are taken to reduce that risk The likelihood and adverse consequences of flooding that remain after taking steps to reduce that risk; no area is ever completely risk-free Mechanism that provides financial protection for property owners against potential losses through an insurance premium paid for the protection. Click here for more information. The likelihood and adverse consequences of flooding that remain after taking steps to reduce that risk; no area is ever completely risk-free