The City of Columbus has unveiled the first-ever Flood Risk Management Plan for the Columbus area.
Flooding is the greatest natural disaster threat to the Columbus community. Approximately one-third of the Columbus area is at risk for at least a 500-year flood.
The Flood Risk Management Plan was created as one of Mayor Brown’s top public safety initiatives to provide timely warnings to residents well ahead of any flooding. The plan is a significant effort applauded by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security as the most advanced flood risk management strategy in the state.
“This is by far the best flood risk management plan in the state,” said Jan Crider, Indiana Department of Homeland Security State Hazard Mitigation Officer. “This plan will make the Columbus community more resilient in the event of another flood, and residents will notice a significantly improved response.”
The City of Columbus-Bartholomew County Planning Department worked with the best water resources consulting engineers in Indiana to create the Flood Risk Management Plan. The plan describes current flood risks, identifies flood forecasting resources, and establishes protocols for post-flood damage assessment. Columbus has 45 flood-prone neighborhoods, and the plan suggests in-depth flood prevention efforts, such as dredging rivers and streams and building levees.
The plan also presents a Flood Response and Evacuation Plan that enables local emergency management officials to predict where and when flooding will happen, communicate the threat to the public, protect neighborhoods where possible, and position resources for the best possible flood response and recovery. It identifies the safest travel routes during a flood and safe gathering spots and shelters for those who are evacuated from their homes. City and county public safety officials have already trained with these strategies twice in mock exercises.
“We now have advance notice of where and when flooding will happen in our community and by how much,” Mayor Brown said. “We will be able to alert the public of flooding hours or even days in advance, allowing residents to get out of harm’s way and to care for their invaluable personal possessions with ample time.”
Mayor Brown encourages community members to review the plan before attending the public presentation and open house.