Flood Studies Led to National Flood Insurance

by George W. Edelen, Jr., (M.ASCE), Hydrologist; U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.,
Walter B. Langbein, (F.ASCE), Hydraulic Engr.; U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.,
George E. Ferguson, (F.ASCE), Hydrologist; U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1979, Vol. 49, Issue 2, Pg. 89-91

Document Type: Feature article


Federal responsibility for flood insurance was decreed by Congress in 1956, after it realized that the private insurance could not alone bear the risk. Flood-plain management, a prerequisite for flood insurance — which did not become widely available until 1969 — gives promise for reducing flood losses. The development of flood-plain management throughout the U.S. was made possible in large part by the accumulation of longterm flood records, improved techniques for their interpretation, and the availability of thousands of flood studies and flood-inundation maps. This data base is largely the product of the USGS.

Subject Headings: Floods | Insurance | Federal government | Flood plains | Mapping | Databases

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