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Using Tolerable Risk Guidelines to Manage Flood Risk

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So long as we live, work, and play in floodplains, flood risk can never be eliminated. At the same time, local, regional, and federal resources for reducing flood risk and for safely rebuilding after disasters are increasingly scarce. How, then, do we manage this risk safely and effectively? In the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, we look forward and ask, how safe is safe enough, and which risks should be addressed first?

Tolerable Risk Guidelines (TRG) recognize that society is willing to live with some risk in order to secure certain benefits. TRG supports policy formulation and decision-making based on a clear understanding of both the probability and consequences of flooding. It enables the evaluation of trade-offs to inform decision-making on flood risk reduction investments, land use, and emergency response. In contrast to design standards specifying levels of flood protection (which address only the flood hazard), TRG recognize that absolute protection is not possible, and enable decisions based on full and transparent understanding of residual risk. When applied to flood risk management decisions, the TRG process is useful in communicating critical information to stakeholders, in allocating scarce resources, achieving equity, and promoting efficiency.

This presentation will explain risk analysis and TRG, and will explain how a TRG approach is different from what is used in the National Flood Insurance Program. Finally, Jessica and Larry will use the example of the California Delta to demonstrate how TRG can was used to inform investment priorities and communicate flood risk.


  • Jessica Ludy, CFM, Environmental Science Associates
  • Larry Roth, PE, GE, ENV SP, Arcadis-US


Is registration required?

No. Registration is not required to participate in this webinar; however, if you do register, you will receive reminders and any updates about the talk.

CECs available

This webinar qualifies for 1 CEC from the Association of State Floodplain Managers. Information about how to receive the credit will be provided during the webinar.

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Conference ID: 17320487

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