The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) applauds the introduction of the Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2020 in the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 30. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) to better safeguard communities and infrastructure from future flooding events and storms.
NIBS joined more than 30 stakeholder groups to sign a letter that calls for a pragmatic approach to enhance the safety of federal investments and communities when building and rebuilding in flood-prone areas.
“Every American faces natural hazards risks, and the risk is growing,” says Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, president and CEO of NIBS. “Most of the costs for the cycle of flooding, damage and repair fall on the taxpayer. This House bill ensures taxpayer dollars used to build or rebuild will not be wasted.”
Communities and states across the nation are incorporating future flood risk, such as sea level rise and heavier downpours, when building and rebuilding.
It’s overdue for the federal government to follow suit, and the Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act offers a practical way to address this void by requiring federally funded projects account for future risk throughout a project’s design life.
The Rising Cost of Floods
Flooding is the most common and expensive natural disaster in the U.S. It has cost the nation more than $845 billion in estimated losses from flood- and hurricane-related disasters since 2000, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
According to the NIBS Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves 2019 Report, more than one million older homes stand in the 100-year floodplain. Buyouts, elevation projects, and other retrofits could save society $1.3 trillion at a cost of $230 billion — $6 saved for every dollar invested. The Mitigation Saves report represents the most comprehensive benefit-cost analysis of natural hazard mitigation, from adopting up-to-date building codes to the upgrade of utility and transportation infrastructure. It covers a number of natural disasters, including wind, hurricane surge, wildfires and earthquakes.