The Future of Flood Risk Data (FFRD)

Release Date:
September 25, 2020

Science and technology for flood hazard identification and flood risk assessments has advanced throughout the 50-year history of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Although FEMA has made progress modernizing the flood mapping process, there are ample opportunities for continued improvement. The Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are the most prevalent cartographic tool used to help communities understand their flooding risks and provide the backbone of effective floodplain management. However, FIRMs are primarily representative of a single flood hazard, the one-percent-annual-chance of flooding, rather than a more comprehensive picture of flood risk.

FEMA’s Future of Flood Risk Data (FFRD) initiative provides a more comprehensive picture of the country’s flood hazards and risk by leveraging new technologies to include more efficient, accurate, and consistent flood risk information across the nation.

FFRD is an agile series of exploratory projects designed to help define the future direction of the mapping program. Providing more comprehensive hazard and risk information complements the improvements in flood risk communication being advanced through Risk Rating 2.0 and offers a basis for a range of outcome-oriented regulatory and non-regulatory products.  

The FFRD initiative includes four major elements:

  • Shift from binary to graduated risk analysis;
  • Ensure a significant and appropriate role for the private sector and state, local, tribal and territorial entities;
  • Increase access to flood hazard data to improve resulting mitigation and insurance actions, and
  • Modernize the management and delivery of flood hazard mapping.

Updated flood risk data effectively informs stakeholder decision-making, drives crucial actions to mitigate flood risk, and improves FEMA’s understanding of stakeholder needs.

Graphic: Each of the 4 major elements of the FFRD is like an individual blade of a windmill. FFRD is providing a framework for the Risk Management Directorate (RMD) to drive towards these 4 key objectives.

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