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As need for new flood maps rises, US Congress cuts funding

US: The US Congress has cut funding for updating flood maps by more than half since 2010, from $221 million down to $100 million this year. And the president’s latest budget request would slash funding for mapping even further to $84 million — a drop of 62% percent over the last four years.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the cuts would delay its map programme by three to five years. The programme “will continue to make progress, but more homeowners will rely on flood hazard maps that are not current,” FEMA wrote in a response to questions from a congressional hearing.

As the United States grows warmer, the federal government’s flood insurance maps are becoming increasingly important. The cuts have slowed efforts to update flood maps across the country.

In New England, for instance, FEMA is updating coastal maps but has put off updating many flood maps along the region’s rivers, said Kerry Bogdan, a senior engineer with FEMA’s floodplain mapping programme in Boston.

“Unfortunately, without the money to do it, we’re limited and our hands are kind of tied,” she said.

Source: Pro Publica