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FloodSAFE California

FloodSAFE California

Department of Water Resources
3310 El Camino Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95821

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 219000
Sacramento, CA 95821-9000

Urban Levee Design Criteria

The Urban Levee Design Criteria (ULDC) provides criteria and guidance for design, evaluation, operation, and maintenance of levees and floodwalls in urban and urbanizing areas. The ULDC supersedes Version 4 of the Interim Levee Design Criteria for Urban and Urbanizing Areas in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley (Version 4), dated December 15, 2010. The ULDC contains numerous revisions and refinements from Version 4, as well as improvements based upon comments received on the Draft Urban Levee Design Criteria dated November 15, 2011.

To download a copy of the ULDC, a summary of the changes to the document, a list of comments received, and a fact sheet about the ULDC, click on one of the links below:


The ULDC has been developed pursuant to Senate Bill 5 (i.e., Government Code (GC) ยง65007(l)), which defines the urban level of flood protection as the level of protection that is necessary to withstand flooding that has a 1-in-200 chance of occurring in any given year using criteria consistent with, or developed by, the Department of Water Resources. While cities and counties located outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley are not required to make findings related to the urban level of flood protection, the ULDC can help inform engineering and local land use decisions for areas at risk of flooding anywhere in California. The ULDC was developed through a collaborative process with stakeholders from local government (including representatives from the Central Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles Region), state government, and the federal government.

Relationship of the ULDC to the Urban Level of Flood Protection Criteria

The ULDC provides engineering criteria for the Draft Urban Level of Flood Protection Criteria (ULOP) for determining the design water surface elevation along leveed and unleveed streams, and for design, evaluation, and operation and maintenance of levees and floodwalls. The ULDC relies upon the Draft ULOP for procedures such as independent peer reviews, periodic reviews, and approval of exceptions to the criteria contained in the ULDC.

For more information

If you have questions about the ULDC, please contact us at