Building on a floodplain has certain perks. They are flat and usually inexpensive to buy while being near cities. However, there are long-term drawbacks to building on floodplains, including higher insurance costs and potential damage in the future.Keep reading for more information about why certain things are built on floodplains.
What Is a Floodplain?
A floodplain is a flat stretch of land adjacent to a river or stream. These areas are prone to flooding and can stretch from the river’s edge to the furthest reaches of a river valley. Some floodplains can be massive, and others can be very small or seasonal.A floodplain can shift and change as a river evolves. A sandy bank on the edge of the river may eventually be in the center of the river itself, and the river can bend in all new directions. More stable rivers may have had the same floodplain for over a hundred years but could change in a couple of years. Rivers can also be seasonal and not flow constantly. For example, the in Australia can be dry for months before the river flows again. This can create dangerous conditions with the risk of flash flooding. Since floodplains can be so unpredictable, there are a lot of rules about what can and cannot be built on them. FEMA also rate floodplains and help determine how strict the regulations are.
What Can Be Built on Floodplains?
You can build many things on floodplains, such as agricultural, residential, or business construction. However, there’s also a very long list of what is not permitted to be built on a floodplain, and regulations vary all over the United States.The things built in a floodplain vary by the local area and how active the river is. Some communities also allow certain buildings despite river activity, so you should also check and research the weather patterns and river behavior. Most commonly, you can build residential communities or agricultural infrastructure on floodplains. Certain types of business and industrial construction are also permitted. They have to meet different standards for environmental reasons, and some are outright prohibited, such as mining or drilling work. has different building permits and regulations about building on floodplains. What is permitted by Los Angeles County in California may not be allowed by Baltimore County in Maryland. If you’re going to build in a floodplain zone, you need to study the benefits and risks before seeking regulatory approval. The pros and cons can dramatically impact the longevity of your build.
Pros and Cons of Floodplain BuildingThere are many pros and cons to floodplain building, but every construction needs to analyze if the pros outweigh the cons. Homeowners also need to consider how they feel about buying in a floodplain seriously.
ProsThere are quite a few pros to building on a floodplain:
- The land is flat. It’s much easier and less expensive to construct buildings on flat land, which can be a big incentive for construction companies.
- Floodplains tend to be closer to cities. Many cities worldwide are built on the banks of a river, making them ideal for commuter communities.
- Floodplain housing can be much cheaper than non-floodplain housing. Homes built in floodplains can be more affordable to buyers because they are less expensive to produce.
ConsWhile all these pros might sound fantastic, there are some cons to consider seriously:
- Flooding causes damage. If the river does overflow, there can be catastrophic consequences.
- Floodplain flooding can be hazardous to human life. This is the exact reason was so deadly; many people who died lived in floodplains, and their homes couldn’t handle the flooding.
- Insurance can be prohibitively expensive. Over time, and since flooding does occur, insurance companies may not cover the building or
- There are environmental dangers. Construction on floodplains can contaminate local waterways with untold consequences down the road.