Citizens and businesses play a critical role in helping the City of Charleston manage the challenges of flooding and extreme weather. We are all part of the solution. Take a proactive approach to reduce flooding around your home, business and neighborhood.
Protecting your home with flood insurance is one of the best investments a homeowner can make to prevent economic loss from flooding. Also consider other insurance that can protect the contents of a home, vehicles, business and other property.
While there is a "mandatory purchase requirement" that requires homes and businesses in high-risk flood areas with loans, including mortgages, from federally regulated lenders to have flood insurance, this is not a requirement for every home or business and something to consider if not already carrying flood insurance.
Homeowners & Renters
Typically, homeowners insurance and renters insurance do not generally cover flooding damages.
Since the City of Charleston participates in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Charleston residents are eligible to purchase flood insurance.
Learn more about the program and get answers to the below common inquiries and frequently asked questions about flood insurance.
Insurance to cover flooding damage to vehicles is typically not automatically part of an automobile insurance policy. However, often people can elect to pay an additional premium to have Comprehensive Coverage added to a policy, which typically covers flooding damages, but always check with an insurance provider to see what coverage is part of a policy. You can review options for insurance to protect your vehicles from flooding damage with most private insurance providers.
Wind and rain move debris, yard waste and litter easily to drains and waterways. Keeping these items from getting into the streets and storm drains protects water quality and prevents drains from clogging, which helps our crews be more efficient.
Stormwater (rainwater runoff) empties directly into our waterways and is not treated like wastewater is. One way you can help protect water quality and prevent clogged drains is by maintaining a clean, litter free yard.
Consider adopting a drain in your neighborhood, it's a great way to show neighborhood pride and responsibility.
Trees provide incredible and cost effective flood-mitigating benefits including absorbing, deflecting and purifying stormwater. Trees also offer many other benefits such as providing shade to manage extreme heat and lower utility bills.
Rain barrels and rain gardens catch rainwater which would otherwise flow into drainage infrastructure and over dirty streets. These approaches work in concert with nature to collect and filter runoff, mitigate flooding, and minimize pollution while helping to save money and energy too.
Rain Barrel Benefits
When rainwater can collected and harnessed on site at the source (where it falls), the community gains lots of benefits such as:
Pairing the Two
A rain garden is a landscaped depression full of water-loving plants that absorbs excess rainwater. Rain gardens pair well with rainwater cisterns, also called rain barrels.
Rain barrels are typically installed to store rainwater from a rooftop surface, reducing the amount of rainwater that may otherwise directly enter stormwater drainage inlets. Rain gardens can be designed so rain barrel overflow (once it's full) is directed to the rain garden. Rain captured in the cistern can be reused, such as irrigating plants during a dry spell.
Look for opportunities to use pervious materials where practical and maintain them. Capturing even small amounts of rain water and slowing the speed of runoff helps prevent drainage systems from becoming overwhelmed during heavy downpours.
Permeable pavements aim to infiltrate, treat, and store rain where it falls. Permeable pavements include a variety of product types, such as:
The sizes of voids where water passes through varies based on the product, some are large and can be filled with small stones or even soil and grass, while some are much too small to fill and instead require maintenance to prevent sediments from settling and clogging the system.
Best Management Practice
Pervious paving is a best management practice that could be particularly cost effective where flooding is a problem. While areas with high water tables are not as effective as those with lower water tables, it is still feasible as we are learning the Dutch have had success implementing pervious paving even in locations with high water tables.
Learn more about permeable pavement systems.
Flooding can quickly become dangerous under extreme circumstances. Knowing the weather and high tides and planning accordingly can help prevent you and your family from being caught in traffic from flooded roadways and intersections.
Learn more about tides.
Tropical weather and flooding is familiar to citizens. It is imperative and prudent that all citizens have an up to date family emergency plan. Know your evacuation zone, designated evacuation routes, have supplies on hand and be prepared.
If your property was damaged in a flooding event, please report the damage ASAP to the City's Citizen Service Desk at 843-724-7311. Reporting damage is important for many reasons, particularly to qualify for post-disaster funding assistance programs.
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