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Value to the Nation

Flood Risk: Economic Impact

Some of the most valuable real estate in the nation is also located in areas of high risk for 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
Prevented
Graphic of line graph showing Flood Damage Reduction Benefits to Cost. Click for full size picture
Graph of Flood Damage
Reduction Benefits to Cost

The Corps 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. Corps flood damage reduction projects, including levees and dikes, have prevented an estimated $706 billion in river and coastal flood damage, most of that within the last 25 years. Between 1999 and 2008, Corps projects prevented an estimated $22.3 billion in average annual damages. The cumulative cost for building and maintaining these projects to date is about $120 billion. That means for every dollar spent, approximately six dollars in potential damages have been saved.

Typically, Corps 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.

The Corps' quick emergency response to floods helps the economy by preventing or reducing damage to businesses. The Corps' 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.