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How big is flood threat?

Without study, building would dry up after March 2016

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POSTED February 27, 2014 1:30 a.m.

Hundreds of direct jobs in Manteca-Lathrop as well as the avoidance of at least $17 million in annual costs for local homeowners are riding on a study delineating the 200-year floodplain.

Without the study and an action plan to prevent future flooding, Sacramento has made it clear that no new development can take place in California cities in or near existing flood zones after March of 2016.

The cities of Manteca and Lathrop are joining forces and splitting the cost of the $123,244 study by Peterson, Brustad Inc. The consultants will develop a 200-year flood profile for the San Joaquin River as well as develop floodplain information for all areas protected by Reclamation District 17 levees.

Based on general estimates by the state, most of Manteca could possibly fall under a 200-year floodplain. City Manager Karen McLaughlin told, the council last week that staff doesn’t believe that is the case “since many areas of Manteca have never flooded.” The study will make it clear what areas in the two cities are prone to potential flooding in the case of a 200-year storm.

And while the state flood concerns have nothing to do directly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency the consultant’s maps are likely to reflect areas that the agency is considering imposing mandatory flood insurance requirements upon.

That would mean properties with mortgages guaranteed by federal sources such as the FHA within such an area would be subject to mandatory flood insurance requirements. Such policies could cost in excess of $2,000 a year per impacted household. 

The mandated state study grew out of the 1997 floods that inundated rural areas south of Manteca, the City of Marysville, and areas in Yuba County when river levees failed during a storm classified as a 100-year event.

A subsequent law passed by the legislature sought to end the state constantly being hit for more and more requests for emergency aid by flooding in areas that were once sparsely populated.

The last flood in 1997 covered 70 square miles between Manteca and Tracy, put 25,000 acres of farmland underwater, damaged 700 buildings and forced 2,500 people to flee.

 

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