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Flood Insurance Premiums Lowered

FEMA lowers City's community rating system; property owners save 10 percent on insurance premiums.

September 16, 2013

The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has determined that the City of Albuquerque now has a Community Rating of 8 in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The floodplain management activities implemented by the Planning Department’s Hydrology Division has qualified the City for a 10 percent discount of the premium cost of flood insurance for NFIP policies issued or renewed in Special Flood Hazard Areas on or after May 1, 2013.

The rating comes after the City has taken great efforts to reduce flooding in Albuquerque and take key proactive measures to protect the residents of Albuquerque. “Since 2010, the City has installed 14,000 linear feet of storm drain, removing 130 acres from the floodplain. This means hundreds of property owners don’t need to carry flood insurance anymore, which can be costly,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry. “This award is a great testament to the work and energy that had been invested in our city.”

This reduction in floodplain insurance is based on:

  • The Hydrology Division’s maintenance of elevation certificates for new and substantially improved buildings
  • Maintaining and furnishing inquirers with flood zone information from the community’s Flood Zone Information Rate Map, publicizing the service annually, and maintaining records
  • Digitized maps are now used in the day to day management of the floodplain
  • Documents related to floodplain areas is now available at the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System
  • Preserving 2039 acres in the Special Flood Hazards Area as open space
  • Enforcement of regulations for storm-water management
  • Regular inspection of the City’s drainage system.

The City also enforces a regulation prohibiting dumping in the drainage system. The City’s new rating is also based on the identification of impending flood threats and dissemination of warnings to floodplain residents and coordination of flood response activities.

The Mayor commended the Planning Department’s efforts for the hard work resulting in cost savings to our City’s floodplain residents. Over this past weekend City crews worked to ensure people and their property were safe; activating the Emergency Operations Center, sending out flooding alerts, collaborating with the National Weather Service, and updating the media on local efforts. The city focused on the west side of Albuquerque between Montano and Paseo del Norte along Unser Boulevard. Longer term storm drainage solutions for that area have been on-going with the construction of SAD 228 and the Boca Negra Dam.

In addition to the award, under Mayor Berry’s direction, the Department of Municipal Development has worked with the Army Corp of Engineers to obtain a federal grant in the amount of $100,000 dollars. This grant will study the feasibility of building a levee system approximately one mile north and south of the Montano bridge along the Rio Grande. The two mile section of levee was never fully constructed, and potentially places numerous properties within the flood zone. If federal fiscal year 2014 funds are appropriated, the City can begin the feasibility phase of the project mid next year.