Kansas statutes passed in 1970 and significantly revised in 1991 gave cities and counties zoning authority to help reduce floodplain problems. The governor of Kansas in 1970 also designated DWR as the state coordinating agency for the National Flood Insurance Program [view NFIP designation]. The NFIP only offers flood insurance to participating communities.
The Division of Water Resources reviews and approves floodplain zoning ordinances before their adoption by local governing bodies. It also provides technical assistance to communities to help them develop proper floodplain-related ordinances. The DWR chief engineer uses data from NFIP studies and mapping for permit and approval decisions.
For floodplain management, incorporated cities and unincorporated areas of counties are separate entities that must separately enact and enforce floodplain management regulations. For additional general information, view Floodsmart for information on risk, flood insurance, and finding an agent in your area.
The floodplain is regulated in order:
- To protect people and property.
Floodplain management is about reducing vulnerability to flood risk to our built environment. If we know low lying land will flood from time to time, we should make reasonable decisions to help protect our families, homes, and businesses.
- To make sure that federal flood insurance is available.
If your home or business is in the floodplain and federal flood insurance isn't available you may not be eligible for some federal business loans and grants or for some types of federal financial assistance. Mortgages may be hard to find.
- To save tax dollars.
Every time you hear about a flood disaster, think about what it means to the town's budget. If we build smart, we'll have fewer problems the next time the river rises. Remember, federal disaster assistance doesn't kick in for all floods. And even when the President declares a disaster, your community still has to pay to cover the costs of evacuation, repair, and clean-up.
- To avoid liability and law suits.
If we know an area is mapped as a floodplain and likely to flood and we know people could be in danger and buildings damaged, doesn't it make sense to take reasonable protective steps as we develop and build?
- To reduce future flood losses in Kansas.
Floodplain development regulations are simply a "good neighbor" policy designed to protect our citizens from future flood losses. Regulating floodplain development helps keep flooding conditions from getting worse as development continues.
For more information, view the Kansas Floodplain Quick Guide, a floodplain management informational tool to community officials. Also view, Kansas Association for Floodplain Management and Certified Floodplain Manager program information.