The risk of catastrophic floods exists every year, and heavy downpours often lead to dangerous flooding conditions. Wildfires add another layer of risk during the rainy season because dangerous landslides and debris flows can rush down fire-scarred hillsides. Because flooding can occur anywhere throughout the state, it is important for Californians to assess their flood risk, prepare and practice response plans, and learn from past floods. We assist with flood activities, and through collaboration with federal agencies are improving our understanding of atmospheric rivers and their effects on flooding and water supply.
DWR's role in flood preparedness includes:
- Working with communities to improve community safety and lower insurance premiums for residents
- Holding preseason briefings for emergency responders to learn about resources and coordinate with other local agencies to prepare for flood season
- Conducting meetings with flood emergency response partners and county emergency operation officials throughout the state
- Providing training in effective flood fighting methods for mitigating a flood
- Activating our Flood Operations Center when flooding is imminent or occurring to coordinate response between local agencies and provide technical assistance as requested
- Providing grant funding for flood management projects, emergency preparedness, feasibility studies, Delta-specific and other state projects, and forecast-coordinated operations in the Central Valley
- Helping communities if their local resources are exhausted when responding to floods through our partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
- Working collaboratively with more than 200 local, State, and federal agencies to collect and share weather and river runoff data via our California Data Exchange Center (CDEC)
Flood emergency preparedness and response requires coordinated, well-planned actions, primarily by local government agencies and special districts. Because each community has a unique vulnerability to flooding, we created a program to work with local emergency responders to develop flood emergency preparedness and response plans that address these vulnerabilities and accommodate local needs. This program aims to improve emergency preparedness and flood response capabilities at the local level and within our department. Pilot studies have demonstrated the types of approaches that will help communities throughout California work effectively with state and federal agencies.
In addition, flood preparedness and response activities are effective tools in protecting life and property vulnerable to flooding. Coordination has improved among key response agencies as a result of extensive effort since 2007. The lead agencies involved are highly motivated to continue improving partnerships among State, federal, and local agencies.
Our Flood Operations Center (FOC) is the central point for preparing and responding to floods, making operational decisions, gathering intelligence, and sharing information with the media and public. We work cooperatively with local responders and county operational areas to improve local preparedness.
- Cities and counties
- Local maintaining agencies
- Professional organizations
- Regional working groups
Each fall before the flood season begins, we conduct meetings with flood emergency response partners and county emergency operation officials throughout the state. Staff from emergency response agencies provide regional and local updates on annual flood preparedness activities, as well as an opportunity to coordinate.
- Flood fight materials and training
- Latest DWR grant news
- Local flood concerns
- Regional updates
- Roles and responsibilities under the Standardized Emergency Management System
- Web resources
- Winter weather outlook
We prepare for floods throughout the year and provide training in effective flood fighting methods for mitigating a flood. State agencies, counties, reclamation districts, tribes, and nonprofit agencies request this free day-long training to learn how they can best protect their properties and communities from high water and flooding incidents.
The training consists of an in-class presentation of the flood fighting methods applicable to different types of flooding, followed by outdoor hands-on practice. View Emergency Flood Fighting Methods (PDF) for more information.Training, exercises, and preparing for flood events are rudimentary but fundamental elements of emergency preparedness. Improving staff training needs requires establishing a comprehensive program to improve flood emergency readiness. We build and maintain relationships with the incident command teams, local maintaining agencies, and local emergency response officers to effectively manage floods in coordination with local agencies.
How You Can Prepare for Floods
Visit Flood Preparedness Week to know your risk and "Flood Prepare California!"
Use the information and tools to:
- Figure out their risk of flooding at home and while traveling
- Learn what food and supplies are needed to shelter at home during a flood
- Determine what you should take with you if evacuating
- Best Available Maps (BAM) represent the 100- and 200-year composite floodplains located within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley watershed.
- Central Valley Floodplain Evaluation and Delineation maps represent 100- and 200-year floodplains for urban and urbanizing areas within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley watershed.
- Levee Flood Protection Zone (LFPZ) maps represent floodplain areas protected by Central Valley State-Federal Project Levees.
- California Emergency Management Agency: Hazard Mitigation
- California Nevada River Forecast Center
- CalOES: Disaster Mitigation and Technical Support
- CalOES: My Hazards
- Be Storm Ready Video - CalTrans
- Central Valley Flood Protection Board
- FEMA: National Flood Insurance Program, Flood Hazard Mapping
- California Water Code
- Ready - Plan Ahead for Disasters - Department of Homeland Security
Find general contact information in the directory, or select the button below for Division of Flood Management details, including how to report flooding through the Flood Operations Center.
- California Data Exchange Center (CDEC): Find data on precipitation, reservoir levels, river stages, snow, forecasting, and more.
- Flood Emergency Response Information Exchange (FERIX): Participating agencies can access and exchange current flood information in real-time through Web GIS interface.