Consumer

Flood Insurance Rates Go Down – Again!

Residents in the unincorporated areas of the County are now eligible for another 5 percent reduction in flood insurance rates, thanks to the efforts of County Watershed Protection staff. The staff have already worked to bring in a 15 percent rate reduction and with the additional 5 percent off, homeowners will save a total of 20 percent off their flood insurance bill.

“This is very good news for County residents who will be paying less for flood insurance,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Roberts. “In these economic times any and all cost savings are enthusiastically welcomed.”

The rate reduction goes into effect in October.

To get the lower flood insurance rates, the County complied with a comprehensive list of standards and requirements outlined in the Community Rating System (CRS), a program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Every five years FEMA conducts on-site inspections and interviews to verify the County’s compliance. FEMA grades the County on categories ranging from managing storm water, to enforcing regulations, maintaining maps of storm water systems and conducting public education campaigns.

The County maintains an extensive drainage system that includes storm drain inlets, pipes, and channels. The County flood control department uses digitized and overlay maps in the day-to-day management of the floodplain and provides flood zone information such as the timely identification of impending flood threats and latest flood insurance rate maps.

In addition to disseminating warnings to residents in the floodplain, the County coordinates flood response activities. The County enforces building code regulations for new and improvement construction, land development, storm water management, soil and erosion control and water quality, as well as compliance with other state policies.

An extensive public education program includes information on state regulations, flood hazards, and even technical advice. CRS credit is also given for preserving nearly 5,600 acres of open space in its natural state.

In 2009, the County was designated as a StormReady Community by meeting specific standards set by the National Weather Service (NWS), including developing safety plans for severe weather, conducting public awareness campaigns and safety training and creating a communications infrastructure. Public notification procedures were also implemented during weather alerts to ensure public safety. This StormReady designation also contributed to additional flood insurance rate reductions.

Information on the County’s flood control efforts and the approved Floodplain Management Plan is available at http://sdcounty.ca.gov/dpw/flood.html. It can also be found at County libraries.

Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact