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National Levee Safety

These web pages present a history of the work of the National Committee on Levee Safety, including a record of meetings, workshops, information sessions, and testimony before Congress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Levees, Levee Safety, and Risk

  1. My levee looks good and is regularly maintained. Why do you think I am at risk?

25. My levee looks good and is regularly maintained. Why do you think I am at risk?

Levees are designed to provide a specific level of protection, and larger flood events can cause them to be overtopped or fail; we simply can't afford to build levees to keep all storms out. Even levees in good repair are subject to overtopping in storms of great magnitude. Further, well-maintained levees may have been built without adequate engineering and may fail before they are overtopped. It is also important to remember that the state of the art of engineering has evolved. If your levee is dated, it may not be up to today's standards.

Because the risk of property damage and loss of life still remains, you should take steps to lessen that risk through considering such actions as purchasing flood insurance, raising the elevation of your home, and having and implementing an emergency evacuation plan when the need arises.

For more information, see About Levees.

Photo of Lupines on the levee.
Lupines on a Sacramento River levee in Sacramento, California.