Important Updates

Flood Repair Myths and Facts – Find out the real facts behind flood repair rumors you may have heard.

Rebuilding Structures in the Floodway: The City of Columbia Floodplain Ordinance does not specifically address rebuilding of an existing structure in the floodway. The City of Columbia will follow minimum FEMA standards allowing the reconstruction in the floodway within the existing footprint of the structure. The new structure or substantial improvement shall comply with all of the City of Columbia’s Floodplain Ordinance.

Stay Informed & Stay Safe

Columbia Water manages construction and significant improvements in its floodplains as part of its participation in FEMA‘s National Flood Insurance Program. Property owners can learn more about their flood risk and how to manage their flood insurance rates on this page. Additional questions can be answered by calling Columbia Water at +1 (803) 545-3400.

Are you affected?

According to FEMA, the City of Columbia has 840 (As of July 24, 2014) active flood insurance policies. Visit City FIRMS: Find Your Risk to find out if your property is in the floodplain.

FEMA is in the process of revising the 2010 FIRMs for portions of the City of Columbia. You can compare the current 2010 FIRMs with the proposed 2016 FIRMs by following these steps:

  1. Visit FEMA Map Service Center: Search All Products
  2. In the Jurisdiction drop-downs, search for SOUTH CAROLINA > RICHLAND COUNTY > COLUMBIA, CITY OF
    In the Jurisdiction drop-downs, search for South Carolina > Richland County > Columbia, City Of
  3. Click Search
  4. Access the 2010 FIRMs by opening Effective Products > FIRM Panels. Access the proposed 2016 FIRMs by opening Preliminary Products > Preliminary FIRM Panels.
    Access the 2010 FIRMs by opening Effective Products > FIRM Panels. Access the proposed 2016 FIRMs by opening Preliminary Products > Preliminary FIRM Panels.

Insurance Coverage

FEMA uses several different codes to indicate the flood risk on the FIRM maps. Find out more at Knowing the Codes.

Flood insurance premiums through the National Flood Insurance Program are based on these codes. Property owners can find out what area they are in based on the City’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM).

Flood insurance through NFIP can cover just the building, just the contents, or building and content together. For more details on what is covered, visit About the National Flood Insurance Program: Coverage from the NFIP.

While some areas are more likely to flood, flooding can happen anywhere! Moderate-to-low risk areas still account for approximately 20% of NFIP claims and receive 1/3 of disaster assistance from flooding.

Building Above Base Flood Elevation (BFE)

Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is defined by FEMA as the water surface elevation resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year.

Anything built at or below BFE has at least a 1% chance of being flooded. Buildings set above BFE have a reduced chance of flooding. Buildings with an Elevation Certificate that shows the lowest finished floor is at or above BFE typically qualify for significant reductions in flood insurance premiums. The graphic below demonstrates how much a residential customer might save in their flood insurance premiums by building at or above BFE.

City Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program

Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is defined by FEMA as the water surface elevation resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year.

Anything built at or below BFE has at least a 1% chance of being flooded. Buildings set above BFE have a reduced chance of flooding. Buildings with an Elevation Certificate that shows the lowest finished floor is at or above BFE typically qualify for significant reductions in flood insurance premiums. The graphic below demonstrates how much a residential customer might save in their flood insurance premiums by building at or above BFE.