Scottsdale’s flood hazard reduction efforts lower insurance costs

The Upper Camelback Wash project, completed in 2015, provides 100-year flood protection to nearly 500 structures, according to Scottsdale officials. (Photo/City of Scottsdale)

Scottsdale property owners started saving more on flood insurance May 1 thanks to flood hazard reduction efforts by the city, officials stated.

Scottsdale scored tops in the state among municipalities during a recent federal audit of floodplain management practices, ranking in the top 1 percent of all U.S. cities and counties, according to a release.

“These rankings are a significant achievement for our community,” Mayor Jim Lane stated. “Through our efforts at floodplain management, property is safer and insurance costs are lower for citizens. That’s an excellent return for citizens on taxpayers’ investment.”

The Upper Camelback Wash project protects a neighborhood roughly along 92nd, 94th, and 96th streets, north of Shea, and south of Thunderbird. (Photo/City of Scottsdale)

There are 8,160 flood insurance policies in Scottsdale – more than any other Arizona community and more than one-fourth of the state’s total, according to the release.

“Scottsdale’s percentage is high because of the area’s topography. In heavy rains, floodwaters cascade down mountain terrain to place areas at risk. Portions of Scottsdale also experience urban flooding,” the release stated.

Scottsdale’s rating for flood risk improved from Class 6 to Class 5 because of the audit — a move that will boost the premium discount in special flood hazard areas from 20 to 25 percent, according to the city, and policy holders outside the special flood hazard areas will continue to see their premiums reduced by 10 percent.

These adjustments will collectively save flood insurance policy holders an additional $200,000 a year and bring total annual premium savings to $1.1 million annually. That breaks down to an average overall savings of $137 per year per policy.

In its audit, FEMA’s Insurance Services Office stated Scottsdale excelled in several flood hazard reduction and floodplain management areas, including maintaining flood-prone areas as open space, enforcing higher regulatory standards than those required by FEMA and adopting and enforcing regulations that prohibit new development from increasing flood hazards to neighboring properties.

In all, FEMA’s Insurance Services Office credited Scottsdale in 14 areas of flood hazard mitigation and floodplain management.

Scottsdale officials urge all residents to consider carrying flood insurance “because severe weather and flooding can be unpredictable in the desert.” Information on the National Flood Insurance Program can be found at: Floodsmart.gov.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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