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Value to the Nation


Flood Risk Mgmt: Economic Impact

Some of the most valuable real estate in the nation is located in areas that have a high risk of flooding. For instance, many industrial facilities are built near rivers and harbors for easy access to waterborne transportation. Likewise, coastal communities are highly desirable as residential locations and tourist destinations and offer many recreational activities. In both cases, though, there also is vulnerability to coastal storm and flood damage.

Graphic of chart showing flood damages prevented in the U.S. by USACE. Click for full size picture
Graph of Flood Damage
Graphic of line graph showing Flood Damage Reduction Benefits to Cost. Click for full size picture
Graph of Flood Damage
Reduction Benefits to Cost

USACE flood risk management efforts reduce the risk of flood damage to these facilities and homes, as well as to vital infrastructure such as energy grids and transportation networks. USACE flood damage reduction projects, including levees and dikes, have prevented more than $1 trillion in river and coastal flood damage, most of that within the last 35 years. Between 2010 and 2019, USACE projects prevented an estimated $138 billion in average annual damages. For every dollar invested in USACE flood risk management projects, approximately $12.26 in potential damages have been saved.

Typically, USACE flood risk management projects produce economic benefits as they are usually turned over to states, local communities or the private sector for ongoing operation and maintenance, creating jobs and revenue for communities.

USACE's quick emergency response to floods helps the economy by preventing or reducing damage to businesses. USACE's ability to rapidly restore utilities, clear roads and rivers, and reinstate other vital services allows companies to get back to business quickly, reducing flood related revenue losses.

Fast Facts

Flood Risk Management Graphics

The USACE Flood Risk Management Program works across the agency to focus the policies, programs and expertise of USACE toward reducing overall flood risk. This includes the appropriate use and resiliency of structures such as levees and floodwalls, as well as promoting alternatives when other approaches (e.g. land acquisition, flood proofing, etc.) reduce the risk of loss of life, reduce longer-term economic damages to the public and private sector, and improve the natural environment.