Institute for Water Resources

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Value to the Nation

Emergencies: Economic Impact

The Corps disaster preparedness and emergency response efforts help to reduce the effects of disasters on businesses and communities, significantly softening the economic impact.

The economic impact of a disaster can be tremendous, destroying or disabling businesses, crippling critical infrastructure, and causing untold property damage. Floods alone are estimated to cause up to $6 billion in damage a year in the United States.

It is impossible to prevent disasters, but the Corps plays a vital role in minimizing their economic impact by responding quickly to limit damage and by helping businesses and communities get up and running again promptly. By restoring vital water and power supplies, assessing structural damage and reopening transportation routes, the Corps can help communities get back to “business as usual.”

One example of the economic impact of the Corps' efforts is the Mississippi Floods in the 1990s. The Corps used its reservoirs to impound millions of gallons of water, preventing an estimated $3 billion in damages.

The Corps' rapid response to natural and man-made disasters such as this plays a significant role in minimizing their impact on local and state economies.