Home > Missions > Civil Works > Levee Safety Program > Risk Assessment

Program Details

Risk Assessment

Why Assess Risk?

Water reaching top of levee crest.It is important to know how levees are expected to perform and what the potential consequences of non-performance would be – in other words, to place levee systems in a risk-informed context.  The essential questions are:

  • What possible loading events (flood, storm, earthquake, etc.) could occur?
  • How will the levee perform when subjected to these events?
  • What are the consequences if the levee doesn't perform well – in particular, what loss of life could occur?

Putting levees in a risk context is a consistent and credible way to prioritize actions in a time of constrained resources. USACE plans to use risk assessments to prioritize life safety risks for its own levee safety activities, and also to provide a basis for communicating risk so levee sponsors and other stakeholders can make more informed decisions.

USACE quantifies flood risk associated with four scenarios as shown below.