From Illinois Business Journal news services
SPRINGFIELD – Strategies to address the billions of dollars in costs associated with urban flooding in Illinois are examined in a new report published by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The IDNR prepared the report, in collaboration with other state agencies, at the direction of the Illinois General Assembly to detail the extent, cost, prevalence and policies related to urban flooding and to identify resources and technology that may lead to mitigation of the impacts.
Documented damages from flooding in urban areas in Illinois totaled more than $2.3 billion between 2007 and 2014, of which more than $1.2 billion were private claims typically representing basement flooding and sewer backups.
The report found that urban flooding is most common in older sections of communities with older sewer systems, and that urbanization and climate trends have increased stormwater runoff. The report suggests improving data collection and analyses on urban flooding to guide programs and policies to reduce flood damages.
The report also suggests pursuing options to mitigate urban flood damages, such as green and gray infrastructure, increasing open areas in areas of redevelopment, and updating aging, undersized storm sewer systems. The report also recommends that communities implement programs to reduce urban flooding risk and damages, while individuals can purchase sewer and basement riders from private insurance providers and flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. The state can provide incentives to communities, including access to grants and revolving funds to address flooding issues.
The research presented in the report has led to 33 recommendations, some of which the IDNR said it is already working on with other key state agencies: developing a draft state model stormwater ordinance for local communities; determining how best to appropriate expenditures of state revolving funds for stormwater management measures; and, coordinating federal and state mitigation grant programs and projects potentially addressing urban flood measures through the Illinois Mitigation Advisory Group.
The remaining recommendations in the report address the need for authorities, education and awareness, local regulations, collaboration between government agencies and communities, and funding for programs and data collection efforts to reduce future flood damage costs in Illinois.
The Illinois Urban Flooding Awareness Act Report is posted on the IDNR website.