The trauma and loss which we experience from flooding is a measure of the effectiveness of a society's leaders, for the results of land and flood management configurations can be predicted. Floodplain Management (FM) is the only approach that can control excessive runoff and tides in the long term. It is a system for turning flood-plains to needed uses— ‘open’ uses such as farms and parks—and for either floodproofing buildings in flood zones or keeping them out of the floodplain.
FM tends in most situations, and indeed in general, to be more economic and less socially costly than other flood-management formats. It allows lands to play more appropriate roles, generally does not fight natural water-cycles, decreases at-risk populations, deals effectively with flood hazards, tends not to destabilize soil and biological systems, and does not require great commitments to maintain.
Unfortunately the structural approach is often preferred, and an important, perhaps pivoting, reason is that it is part of a system of largess used by governmental leaders to aid financial constituencies. Political reform is accordingly required.
FM tools include citizen intervention; regulation; property rights purchase; flood-control structures; relocation of settlements; weather forecasting, warning, and modification; governmental loan and guarantee activities; government flood insurance; private and governmental disaster aid; banking regulations; farm preservation, erosion control, and water-quality management; parks, refuges, scenic streams, and open spaces; coordination of ‘delivery’ of services; trust, cooperative, and other private arrangements; legal redress; and special planning and executive devices, each of which is considered briefly.