Posted on: October 14, 2015

FEMA flood map workshops scheduled for eastern Coachella Valley

Flood Maps for eastern Coachella Valley

Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update the flood risk for properties adjacent to the Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel in eastern Coachella Valley.

Parcels adjacent to the storm channel that could be flooded during a 100-year flood are being remapped on FEMA's Flood Insurance rate maps (FIRMs) into what is known as a Flood Zone AE. Flood Zone AE is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).

This issue is especially important to residents with mortgages from a federally regulated or federally insured lender on their home, business or other buildings within flood hazard area. Residents in that category are required by law to purchase mandatory flood insurance due to the higher flood risk.  Flood insurance is required as soon as the proposed flood hazard maps for this portion of the Coachella Valley go into effect next year.

The proposed FIRMs are a result of a multi-year CVWD study to update flood risks in the eastern Coachella Valley. When the proposed FIRMs become effective, they will help property owners and others to identify the flood risk and to make informed decisions about reducing flood loss and mitigating potential damage as a result of a 100-year flood event.

It is beneficial to residents to be aware of potential savings on insurance that are available. People may save money on flood insurance premiums if there is an existing building on their property that was built in compliance with the flood insurance rate map in effect at the time of construction.

As an additional cost saving measure, people may purchase a flood insurance policy before the proposed FIRMs become effective, i.e. Preferred Risk Policy. Once the new flood maps go into effect, the Preferred Risk Policy is no longer available and flood insurance premiums will be higher.

The mandate that federally regulated/ insured lenders require mortgaged properties to carry flood insurance was established by Congress in 1968. Flood insurance is available through FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), provided by about 85 insurance companies and written through licensed insurance agents. Local insurance agents should be familiar with the NFIP.

People impacted by the new flood maps are strongly encouraged to attend one of the workshops listed below for additional details. Representatives from CVWD and Riverside County will be available to explain the new FIRMS, answer questions and distribute written materials in English and Spanish.

October 19, 6 p.m.  Boys and Girls Club, Joel E. Smilow Clubhouse
    91391 66th Avenue, Mecca
October 21, 6 p.m.  San Jose Community and Bea Main Learning Center
    69-455 Pierce Street, Oasis

People also can get information at CVWD's website,, or at  Or they can call the NFIP Help Center at 1-800-427-4661.

The update of the proposed FIRM is a joint effort of Riverside County, CVWD and FEMA, in cooperation with cities, unincorporated communities and other stakeholders. They understand the proposed FIRMs create unwanted expense for property owners, but the potential fiscal losses due to flooding can be devastating.

The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.

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