Minimizing flood risks is an important part of the mission of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District). Flooding can result when hurricanes and other storms bring unusually high amounts of rain in a short amount of time. It's a natural condition that can have serious implications for Florida’s residents.
The District and local governments work together to minimize flooding impacts, protect personal property and assist flood victims during and after storm events.
If you are experiencing flooding, your first contact should be your local government.
Who do I call if my home is experiencing flooding from a storm or natural disaster?
Local governments bear much of the responsibility when it comes to flood protection. They are the primary agencies responsible for state-of-emergency declarations, evacuations and rescue efforts during flood-related disasters. They also have the primary responsibility of ensuring that ditches and canals are adequate, clean and functioning properly.
Your local government is responsible for:
- Emergency responses during storms
- Land use planning
- Maintaining stormwater/drainage systems
- Implementing a master stormwater plan for solving flooding
- Implementing stormwater retrofit projects in older communities that were built prior to stormwater rules
- Adopting local laws that focus on building and road elevations, setbacks from waterbodies, fill limitations, sanitary codes and structures allowed in floodplains.
To meet its mission of minimizing flood risks, the District accomplishes flood protection through structural and nonstructural methods. Year-round, the District operates 85 water-control structures in its 16-county area. These structures assist with flood protection, manage lake water levels and prevent saltwater from flowing up freshwater streams and creeks. Nonstructural methods include purchasing lands that store floodwaters, issuing permits to ensure new development does not cause flooding and contributing funds and technical expertise to local governments for flood protection programs.