Uncertainty in Flood Mitigation Practices: Assessing the Economic Benefits of Property Acquisition and Elevation in Flood-Prone Communities

Prepared by:

William Mobley, Kayode O. Atoba, Wesley E. Highfield

Prepared for:


Publication Date:

April 28, 2020

Adopting effective flood mitigation practices for repetitive flood events in the United States continues to play a prominent role in preventing future damage and fostering resilience to residential flooding. Two common mitigation practices for reducing residential flood risk consist of raising an existing structure to or above base flood elevation (BFE) and acquiring chronically damaged properties in flood prone areas and restoring them back to serve their natural functions as green open spaces. However, due to data accuracy limitations, decision makers are faced with the challenge of identifying the financially optimal approach to implementing mitigation measures. We address this problem through the following research questions: What does the optimal allocation of flood mitigation resources look like under data uncertainty, and what are the optimal methods to combining mitigation measures with consideration for the best economic benefits? Using a robust decision making (RDM) approach, the eects of uncertainty in property values, construction and demolition costs, and policy implementation options such as structure selection and budget allocation were measured. Our results indicate that the amount budgeted for mitigation and how those funds are allocated directly influence the selection of the most economically viable mitigation practices. Our research also contributes to the growing need for evaluating specific flood mitigation strategies.