San Francisco Rolls Out New Flood Safety Measures

With the high temperatures of summer well behind and winter on the horizon, disaster preparedness officials in San Francisco are turning their attention towards coping with flood season. Thanks in no small part to global warming and widespread climate changing, having measures in place for more erratic and wet winters throughout the state has become an increasingly relevant priority. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission unveiled several new measures to cope with this growing problem.

One of the more interesting and practical measures offered by the agency to residents fearing San Francisco flooding is a grant program designed to reimburse and support past flood victims with funds to install protective measures in their homes. Features like improved plumbing, doorway seals, and floodgates will not keep the most severe conditions at bay, but they can act as a baseline measure to lessen or prevent damage from intense weather conditions in the future. The grant program was allotted $250,00 in previous years, but given the increasing severity of other situation, the PUC has increased this allotment to $1.75 million. Each homeowner who qualifies can receive up to $30,000 to help recoup from flood damages, but this may soon be raised $100,000.

The announcement of the change to the reimbursement program is just a small part of the Public Utility Commission's RainReadySF initiative, a yearly program designed to both spread awareness and offer practical solutions to area residents. The commission's initiative goes well beyond its direct campaign to San Francisco natives. The PUC is also working directly with a number of other departments within the city to build new infrastructure to help control flood waters and attempting to work these measures directly into the city's building codes to simplify planning for disasters in the future.

Some of the commission's plans include a massive overhaul to the city's archaic sewage system, as well as renovations and upgrades to water treatment facilities. Proper sewer infrastructure is vital for San Francisco because, unlike other cities located along the coast, its out of date sewage system handles storm runoff and waste within the same pipes, causing it to be easily overburdened during periods of heavy rainfall. Another program is an effort to better map the city's most at-risk flood zones to better warn homeowners in these areas. Overall, the commission's comprehensive approach is a strong mix of both preventative measures and recovery contingencies and should offer some relief and comfort to residents.


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