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Flood Plain Development in Utah

Communities receiving FEMA funds require flood insurance for any home built in a flood plain-but not all of them do, mainly because of the fear of regulation.

Recent growth on flood plains means many places are vulnerable. The devastating floods along the Santa Clara and Virgin rivers in southern Utah last month have once again reminded residents that, although they essentially live in a desert, they are not immune to the whims of Mother Nature. The same thing happened 22 years ago when one town, Thistle, was wiped off the map and Salt Lake City streets were turned into makeshift canals to handle overflowing creeks. Much has been done to prevent this from happening again, such as clearing and widening channels, creating drainage basins and toughening zoning and building codes to minimize flood-related damage during heavy rains. Yet much of Utah's population lives in areas considered to be flood-prone-at the base of canyons, in river basins and near large bodies of water. Development has exploded in recent years and unfortunately, a lot of it is in flood plains. As cities and towns sprang up, they overran the rivers and creeks that residents had once built away from.

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June 16, 2019, 10:26 pm PDT

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