The creeks in San Ramon are very effective at moving water under normal storm conditions. However, during torrential rains it is possible that they will reach their capacity and flooding may occur, particularly if any of these waterways become obstructed.
To reduce potential flood hazards, City of San Ramon Public Services staff regularly inspects its public facilities, including, but not limited to, storm drains, ditches, and creeks, throughout the year. Each autumn they remove both naturally occurring debris and illegally dumped materials from the City’s drainage facilities. Areas most susceptible to flooding in San Ramon are along San Ramon Creek, San Catanio Creek and South San Ramon Creek.
In addition, the City of San Ramon assists all property owners by participating in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Community Rating System (CRS) program. The CRS program is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements. As a result of the City’s participation in this program, private property owners benefit with a discount on their private property flood insurance premiums. As part of this program, each year Engineering staff sends notices to flood zone property owners located within areas designated as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA's). These areas are designated by FEMA through a Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and mapped on a Flood Rate Insurance Map (FIRM). Lenders may require that residents carry flood insurance if your building is located in a SFHA. Residents in or near a SFHA who are not required to do so should also consider obtaining flood insurance, and will benefit from a similar discount as well.
Did you know that FEMA studies show that properties in a high-risk flood zone area are five times (5x) more likely to be damaged by flooding than fire? In 2003, FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) awarded over $601 million in flood claims to insured residents. Roughly 25% of all claims paid by the NFIP to insured residents are for policies in low-to moderate-risk communities. As a result, the City strongly urges all property owners in high-, medium-, and low-risk flood zone areas to obtain flood insurance to protect your private property. Without flood insurance, you will not be eligible to participate in this national insurance program, and may be financially responsible for any losses you incur due to a flood. To determine if your property is in a flood zone, click here and enter your property’s address or call the City’s Engineering Services Department at (925) 973-2670.
Please visit http://www.floodsmart.gov on the Internet for information on FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program. This website offers valuable information on what the NFIP is, and how it can help you as a homeowner prevent loss due to flood damage.
In addition to obtaining flood insurance for your private property, property owners can prevent and minimize damage by flood proofing your property. Flood proofing information, along with copies of the FIS and FIRMs for San Ramon, are available through the local library and by request at the City’s Engineering Services office at 2401 Crow Canyon Road in San Ramon.
In the event of a flood or other hazard, you should turn to your local radio or television station for information. If an evacuation is required, police will attempt to notify area residents via loudspeaker. For suggestions on where to obtain supplies such as sandbags, contact the Public Services at (925) 973-2800. Staff may also be able to provide assistance, or to give other valuable information.
The Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District provides additional flood-related resources. Click on the following for more info:
For information on FEMA’s or the National Flood Insurance Program, please visit www.fema.gov or www.floodsmart.gov
Click to expand these links below to learn about Flood Hazards:
What you need to KNOW…
The creeks in San Ramon are very effective at moving water under normal storm conditions. However, during torrential rains it is possible that they will reach their capacity and flooding may occur, particularly if any of these waterways become obstructed. Being prepared is your best defense against such events.
- KNOW that the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains help reduce flooding
Floodplains are a natural component of the City’s environment. Understanding and protecting the natural functions of floodplains helps reduce flood damage and protect resources. When flooding spreads out across the floodplain, its energy is dissipated, which results in lower flood flows downstream, reduced erosion of the streambank and channel, deposition of sediments higher in the watershed and improved groundwater recharge. Floodplains are scenic, valued wildlife habitat, and suitable for farming.
- KNOW if your property is located in an area that is subject to flooding
A property located within a flood zone does not necessarily have consistent flooding problems. Your property may still be within a flood zone, as designated by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), even if you are not aware of any flooding on your property. To determine if your property is in a flood zone, you may visit www.msc.fema.gov and enter your address or call the City’s Engineering Services Div. at (925) 973-2670 for a free flood zone determination. FEMA maps are also available in the San Ramon public libraries. If your property is located in an “A” Zone, then it is considered within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), which is an area that has been determined to have the potential for flooding caused by a 100-year storm.
- KNOW that even if we are in a drought, flooding can happen
Flooding can occur after several days of heavy rain that saturates the ground. The Contra Costa County Public Works Department has information that can help predict when flooding will likely occur. Visit www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/1578/Flood-Forecast-Information for more information.
What to do BEFORE a flood…
- Purchase flood insurance on your property
Flooding is not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. A separate policy is required to cover damages incurred by flooding. Coverage is available for the building itself as well as for the contents of the building (a good option for renters). The City of San Ramon participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that makes available federally backed flood insurance for all structures, whether or not they are located within the floodplain. The City also participates in the Community Rating System (CRS). Participation in this program currently provides up to a 20% discount on flood insurance policies. Also note that 25% of NFIP claims are filed by properties located outside the 100-year floodplain, also known as the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Contact your insurance agency for more information. Flood insurance information is also available at public libraries.
- Maintain drainage channels and pipes free of obstruction and debris
The City of San Ramon performs cleaning and maintenance activities on the drainage system in City easements & right-of-way in accordance with an established schedule and standard operating procedures. Residents are encouraged to assist in maintaining the drainage in their areas by removing or reporting obstructions (such as shopping carts, leaves, debris, trash, etc.). Keeping the drainage system obstruction-free reduces flooding in the event of heavy rains. By ordinance, it is illegal to dump trash, leaves, landscape debris, paint, grease, or any other material into any portion of the City’s drainage system. Such dumping can have devastating impacts on water quality in addition to causing flooding. To report illegal dumping call 1-800-NODUMPING or for questions regarding drainage maintenance, please contact the Public Services Division at (925) 973-2800.
- Protect your property from flood hazards
Various methods may be used to minimize flooding. If the floor level of your property is lower than the “Base Flood Elevation” (elevation of the 100-year flood, based on the FEMA maps), consider elevating your structure, if possible. Brochures and information regarding flood proofing and other mitigation measures are available in San Ramon Public Libraries. If a flood is imminent, property can be protected by sandbagging areas subject to the entry of water into living spaces. The Public Services Division at (925) 973-2800 may be available to direct you to sandbagging supplies. Valuables and furniture may also be moved to higher areas of the dwelling to minimize damages. City staff can make site visits to provide advice to residents regarding flooding and drainage issues on private property. We also have site specific information for some parcels within the City. Contact the Engineering Services Division at (925) 973-2670 for more information.
- Prepare an emergency plan and supply kit
Designate a family meeting spot. Keep available water, non-perishable food items, batteries, flashlights, a manual can opener, and a radio that is battery powered. Important documents and valuables should be store in a water proof safe
- Contact the City’s Emergency Preparedness Program Manager
Questions regarding emergency may be addressed to the City’s Emergency Preparedness Program Manager at (925) 973-2773.
What to do DURING a flood…
- Avoid walking in moving water
Six inches of moving water can make you fall. Avoid unstable banks and low-lying areas. Seek shelter in the highest areas possible.
- Avoid driving in flooded roadways
Do not attempt to drive or wade through deep water. Two feet of rushing water can cause many vehicles to float and be carried away.
- Know how to shut off your utilities
If your property is in imminent danger of flooding, please contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5002 (emergency phone number) to request that your power and natural gas be shut off. This number may also be used regarding any other electrical or natural gas emergencies. For guidance on how to do it yourself in a non-emergency situation, please contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
- Listen for emergency instructions
Tune in to your local radio station (AM 1610) for information and any corresponding emergency instructions. The San Ramon Emergency Preparedness Program Manager will order or advise evacuations if conditions warrant this action. If evacuations are called for, it is imperative that you follow instructions in the time frame noted.
What to do AFTER a flood…
- Select contractors who are licensed in the state of California for their trade
The City requires contractors to have a City of San Ramon Business License. Only licensed electricians may perform electrical work; only licensed plumbers may perform plumbing work; only licensed gas contractors may work on a gas system; only licensed mechanical contractors may perform heating, ventilation and air conditioning work; and only licensed building contractors may perform building related work. Verify that contractors are licensed before signing or agreeing to any repair contracts. It is also recommended that you verify certification of liability and workman’s compensation insurance.
- Require your contractors to obtain the proper permits for work being performed
Permits are required for permanent improvements (i.e. alterations, roofing, additions, siding, etc.) to a structure and for site work such as grading, filling, etc. Permits are required even if a resident is doing the work himself.
- Ensure the project meets NFIP requirements
The NFIP requires that if the cost of the new improvements to the building is >=50% of the building’s market value, then the new construction must meet the same flood prevention requirements as a new building. Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up to this standard.
- Contact the City for any questions
Building and Safety Division - (925) 973-2580
Engineering Services Division - (925) 973-2670
For additional information, please click on the following links:
Learn how to protect your property from flood damage: