Miami-Dade County is especially susceptible to flooding from major rain events and storm surge because it lies close to sea level. This, coupled with a high water table, means water has nowhere to drain. In 2000, FEMA recognized a need to build a series of canals to protect Miami-Dade County from flood risks.
In order to handle excess water resulting from drainage and development of wetlands, the city constructed a 620-mile series of canals and waterways called the Miami-Dade Flood Control Project (C-4 Basin), where water is held in reserves or absorbed into the ground. The driving force of the C-4 project is the pump station at the mouth of the Tamiami Canal, which begins in the Everglades National Park. The canal is designed to push water downstream against the tide. The C-6 basin, built at the mouth of the Miami River Canal, offsets the flow from the C-4 canal, preventing flooding upriver. The three pumps at each station have the capacity to process 4,500 gallons of water per second. When the canals cannot handle the full volume of water, an emergency detention basin exists to receive and store excess water in two reservoirs. The project has been so successful that there are now plans to construct a similar system at Miami-Dade’s C-7 basin.
Aside from Miami-Dade’s efforts in structural flood protection and stormwater management, the county also prevents flooding and assists citizens through:
- Providing elevation certificates
- Providing FIRM information online
- Requiring real estate agents to disclose hazards to potential buyers of flood-prone properties
- Providing technical advice to citizens about protecting their property from flooding
Implementation & Funding
The total cost of the C-4 Canal Project was $70 million, $52.5 million of which was awarded by FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which funds up to 75% of the eligible costs of a project that will reduce or eliminate damages from future natural hazard events. The other 25% was provided by Miami-Dade County and awards from the Quality Neighborhood Improvement Program (which funds capital infrastructure projects in unincorporated Miami-Dade County), the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). SFWMD is the state agency responsible for managing and protecting water resources of South Florida by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply.
Residents in Miami-Dade County receive discounts based on the county’s Class 5 rating. This includes a 25% discount on insurance premiums for residents within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and a 10% discount for those outside the SFHA. Additionally, the ability of the C-4 Project to reduce flooding has resulted in fewer insurance claims, reduced repair costs, and less loss of wages due to time away from work.