American Society of Civil Engineers

Floods of People: New Residential Development into Flood-Prone Areas in San Joaquin County, California

by Roxane Fridirici, Ph.D., (Lectuer, Dept. of Geography, California State Univ., Sacramento, CA 95819)

Natural Hazards Review, Vol. 9, No. 3, August 2008, pp. 158-168, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: The proximity of San Joaquin County, California to the San Francisco Bay Area has made it one of the most rapidly growing areas in the state. Several factors have encouraged seemingly illogical new residential development in known flood-prone areas. New residents chose to focus on housing prices and amenities, and seldom recognize potential flood hazards even when surrounded by levees. Communities, anticipating increased populations and broadened tax bases, are reluctant to press flood hazard issues. Recently, the State of California has pressed for systematic levee improvements and is shifting fiscal responsibility for flood damage to local governments. Recent housing market downturns may provide an opportunity to enhance flood plain management and public awareness. Together, these changes may encourage a more realistic attitude about flood hazards in siting new residential development.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Economic factors
Flood plains
Natural hazards
Residential location
Urban development