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Floodprone Land Acquisition Program

Program Background

The District's Floodprone Land Acquisition Program began in 1984, in response to the October, 1983 flood event. Initially, the program focused on purchasing properties damaged in the 1983 event and providing relocation assistance to flooded property owners. Later, the program was expanded to include the acquisition of undeveloped properties and upper watershed areas. As mentioned, these purchases help preserve overbank storage characteristics in up stream areas, and prevent development from occurring in vulnerable locations. One of the District's major purchases has involved nearly 4,000 acres of land located along Cienega Creek. The purchase of Cienega Creek Preserve provides significant flood control benefits, but also accomplishes important riparian habitat preservation and open space objectives.

Purchasing flood and erosion prone land is a cost-effective strategy for minimizing flood damages. By acquiring floodprone land, the District can eliminate future losses on the acquired parcels. Through its award-winning Floodprone Land Acquisition Program (FLAP) the District has purchased over 7,000 acres of floodprone land throughout Pima County.  Check out our FLAP photo gallery in Flickr for "before and after" photographs of floodprone properties purchased by the District.

The Floodprone Land Acquisition Program is a "willing seller, willing buyer" program.  The District does not use eminent domain to force Individuals to sell their property to the District through the FLAP program.  Property owners must request that the District purchase the property.  The District then determines whether or not it wants to purchase the property, based on such factors as the severity of the flood hazards on the property, the property location in relation to other public lands, and available funding in the program.

Besides minimizing flood damages to specific parcels, floodprone land acquisition yields a number of other important benefits. One immediate advantage is that purchasing undeveloped floodprone property eliminates the need for structural flood control improvements (such as bank stabilization, levees, etc.) that would otherwise be needed to protect these parcels. Another benefit is that the parcel's natural floodplain characteristics are preserved, which in turn helps reduce downstream flooding peaks. Floodprone land acquisition also helps create recreational opportunities, maintain urban open space, preserve riparian habitat and enhance ground water quality. To request an assessment of your property for eligibility in FLAP, please submit a FLAP Application Form to the District.

Since Fiscal Year 2014/2015, the District has purchased 1,598.01 acres of land for a total cost of $2,684,878.

Fiscal Year 

Land Purchased (acres)

Total Cost

FY 2014/15

 246.92

 $271,000

FY 2015/16

 101.69

 $172,180

FY 2016/17

 313.06

 $625,500

FY 2017/18

 411.36

 $765,448

FY 2018/19

 525.01

 $850,750