Calculation of Flood Losses in the United States (PAP014374)
Stephanie Bray, Katelyn Noland, Mark Roupas, Roham Abtahi
Floods in a changing climate
In the United States, no one Federal agency has the responsibility for managing flood risk. One important implication of this is that no one agency collects data on damages and losses caused by flood events. Rather, many agencies collect different types of data and make use of such data in different ways in order to meet their individual missions and purposes. This does not necessarily result in a complete understanding of flood damages and losses experienced due to flood events within the Federal government. Further, it is not necessarily an efficient process, and may result in both duplication of effort in collecting data and gaps in the data that is collected. The Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force (FIFM-TF), an interagency group representing ten Federal agencies with missions and authorities related to flood risk and floodplain management, recognized the limitations caused by this piecemeal approach, in terms of both lack of efficiency within the Federal government and lack of complete understanding of the flood problem within the country. To better understand this problem, the FIFM-TF convened an interagency meeting of experts involved in their agencies' efforts to collect flood damage and loss data. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss what types of data were collected by each agency and how each agency used their data. Through this discussion, potential efficiencies in data collection efforts between agencies were identified, as were gaps in the types of data that were collected and used within the Federal government. The discussions, challenges and solutions identified, and improvements resulting from this interagency meeting will be discussed in detail. Further, longer term discussion on how the Federal government might lead efforts to develop a more accurate and comprehensive estimate of flood damages and losses to the Nation will be provided, including recommendations under consideration by the FIFM-TF for moving forward with such an activity.