Flood Risk

WE’RE NOT PREPARED

Even if we don’t know it, many homes and businesses around the Bay are at risk of serious flooding.  Communities containing hundreds of thousands of homes in the low-lying areas around the Bay have weak flood control protections, crumbling infrastructure and few natural barriers.

The levees, sea walls and channels that protect the communities around the Bay are old and crumbling. Experts warn that if we don’t act, the levees could break. The result would be a devastating flood event that could damage thousands of homes, as well as knockout power stations and highways near the Bay. 

In addition, many critical elements of the Bay Area’s infrastructure, including our airports, water treatment plants, and major employers are built on locations at or below sea level. That means a severe storm or flood event could potentially knock out huge parts of our regional economy.

A new study finds that the Bay Area is vulnerable to more than $10 billion in economic damages due to an extreme storm event, about the same level of damage as caused by the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Click here to see a map of areas that are at increased risk of flooding due to crumbling levees and rising sea levels

CLIMATE CHANGE AND RISING WATERS

Experts predict that climate change will increase sea levels by 11 to 24 inches by 2050. These changes will have dramatic impacts across our region and greatly increase the risk of extreme flooding events.

In fact, if we don’t act now, rising sea levels and resulting extreme flood events threaten as much as:

  • 89 schools and healthcare facilities
  • 1,780 miles of roads and highways
  • 270,000 people displaced from their homes and apartments
  • 3,100 acres of wetland habitat

WHAT CAN WE DO?

We can build and restore levees and other infrastructure that has been outdated for some time now. We can also take steps to restore wetlands, which serve as natural flood protectors.  Federal, state and local efforts to create and restore flood control infrastructure are underway, but need to be bolstered.

Making the choice to put these solutions in place now will protect our economy and our communities. If we want our children and grandchildren to inherit a thriving Bay Area, we need to act now to protect it.