In recent years, extreme storms and hurricanes have caused increasingly disastrous flooding along U.S. rivers and coastlines, with much of the damage occurring when levees failed or were overstopped by water. This report, Levees and the National Flood Insurance Program: Improving Policies and Practices, examines how FEMA National Flood Insurance Program assesses, mitigates, and insures against flood risk behind levees, and how the program communicates that risk to the public. FEMA needs an updated approach to analyze and manage flood risk to give public officials and individual property owners a more precise idea of the risks they face, the report finds. Because no levee completely eliminates flood risk, more effective communication is needed to increase awareness and encourage communities behind levees to use multiple methods to manage flood risk.

Webinar Archive

Gerald E. Galloway, chair of the report-authoring committee presented the report’s findings and, along with other committee members, answered questions from the public during a free  webinar on March 26, 2013. Watch the recording >>

More Resources

The resources on this website include tools from FEMA that explain how levees work (and how they can fail), and a calculator for your potential financial risk in a flood.

You’ll also find a brief summary of the report, including animated versions of some of the report’s figures.

The site also features a video reel distributed to television stations to accompany coverage of the report, which includes pictures of levees and flood mitigation tools across the U.S. along with footage of the aftermath of major flooding.

If you would like to download the full report for free as a PDF, or buy a hard copy of the report, you can do so at the National Academies Press.