California May Exit Federal Flood Program, According to Reports

March 21, 2017

After learning a lesson from what could have been the largest dam disaster U.S. history, California officials are reported to be considering withdrawing from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Capital Public Radio is reporting that a proposal to exit the NFIP is based on the research of Nicholas Pinter with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.

“Examining data since 1994, Pinter said that California paid more than $3 billion more into the federal program than it has received in payments during the last 21 years,” a Capital Public Radio article states. “Pinter characterizes these flood insurance premiums as a massive investment that could have been used to meet more pressing needs.”

According to Pinter, only 18 of the 538 jurisdictions in California that pay premiums to NFIP have received payouts exceeding the premiums paid, and state flood managers are considering his recommendation that the state consider setting up its own flood insurance program, the article states.

Problems at Lake Oroville began last month when officials discovered a massive crater in the main concrete spillway used to release water during wet winter months. A stronger-than-expected storm then filled the lake to capacity and sent water overflowing onto a hillside, forcing the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people from parts of three counties.

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