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Flood Management

Urban Floodplain Evaluation


As a result of recent changes to the California Government Code resulting from Senate Bill 5 (2007), cities and counties within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley will have to address new flood protection standards when considering new development. These standards will become effective over the next several years as ongoing technical studies are performed. The Department of Water Resources is developing technical information that will assist cities and counties with their compliance with these new requirements.

The timelines associated with these new standards are tied to the adoption of the Central Valley Floodplain Protection Plan (CVFPP). The CVFPP must be adopted by the Central Valley Floodplain Protection Board (CVFPB) no later than July 1, 2012. Within 24 months of the adoption of the CVFPP, each city and county must amend its general plan to include the information contained in the CVFPP. Within 36 months of the adoption of the CVFPP (or within 12 months after a general plan amendment), each city and county must amend its zoning ordinance to be consistent with its amended general plan.

Once the amendments are effective, cities and counties within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley cannot enter into development agreements for areas located within a flood hazard zone unless the city or county makes certain findings, based on substantial data as outlined in the California Government Code. In order to enter into a development agreement, or to issue a permit to construct a new residence for a project that is located within a flood hazard zone, the city or county must

  • find that existing facilities protect urban and urbanizing areas to a 1-in-200 chance of flooding in any given year or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standard of flood protection in non-urbanized areas, or
  • find that the local flood management agency has made adequate progress on the construction of the flood protection system to provide the required level of protection, or
  • impose conditions on the development agreement that will provide the required level of protection.