Oklahoma Water Resources Board the Water Agency

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Flood Current

OWRB and the National Flood Insurance Program

The OWRB was designated by Governor Dewey Bartlett in 1968 as the coordinating state agency for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in Oklahoma. As the NFIP State Coordinator, the Water Board partners with other state and federal agencies and local governments to prevent and mitigate the catastrophic effects of flooding disasters in Oklahoma. Board officials stress implementation of land-use strategies that reduce the likelihood of future flood damages and encourage the safe conveyance of floodwaters.

The NFIP is a federal initiative that provides communities with a mechanism for implementing sound floodplain management techniques. This effective quid pro quo approach to floodplain management makes affordable flood insurance available for citizens in participating communities that enact and adhere to sound regulations that guide development in floodplains. In return, the NFIP requires the community to adopt a floodplain management ordinance containing certain minimum requirements intended to reduce future flood losses. The OWRB promotes community enrollment in the NFIP and advises the 394 current members on steps to ensure future participation. The Water Board's aggressive and proactive efforts to mitigate the impacts of flooding in Oklahoma have been consistently recognized by FEMA and other organizations as the best in this region and one of the top programs in the country.

The Oklahoma Floodplain Management Act, passed in 1980, authorizes communities (i.e., cities, towns and counties) to develop floodplain regulations, designate flood hazard areas and establish floodplain boards. An amendment in 2004 calls for community floodplain administrators to become accredited through the OWRB, ensuring that these officials are properly trained to effectively administer local floodplain regulations.

Consistent with protecting the natural functions of the floodplain and reducing flood losses, the OWRB values the No Adverse Impact floodplain management approach. NAI strategies promote responsible floodplain development through community-based decision making.

The Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association, a state organization of floodplain officials supported by the OWRB, provides excellent training and networking opportunities that ultimately help communities better manage their floodplain areas.

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Last updated: May 14, 2021

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