SARA Floodplain Viewer
The SARA Floodplain Viewer engages users in an interactive map, displaying the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) data. Together with its many Bexar Regional Watershed Management (BRWM) partners, the San Antonio River Authority collected the data used in the digital maps, providing basic information about the floodplains in Bexar, Wilson, Karnes and Goliad counties.
What is the “base flood?”
The base flood, or 100-year flood, is the flooding event that statistically has a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year. Thus, the base flood can also be called the “1-percent annual chance flood.”
The SARA Floodplain Viewer outlines the 1-percent annual chance flood boundaries—indicating that those areas will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The SARA Floodplain Viewer also shows moderate flood hazard areas, which are represented between the limits of the base flood (1 percent annual chance) and the 0.2 percent annual chance (or 500-year) flood.
By no coincidence, the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)—as defined by FEMA—is the land area covered by the floodwaters of the base flood—that is the 1-percent annual chance flooding event. This is important because the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) floodplain management regulations are enforceable in the SFHA, including the mandatory purchase of flood insurance.
FEMA encourages everyone to get flood insurance, even if you don’t live in a high-risk flood zone. While governments are doing all they can to alleviate the impact of floods, everyone should play a role in protecting themselves.
To learn more about flood insurance, click here to visit the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program site.
Map Modernization and Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps
The SARA Floodplain Viewer, also known as a Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM), stemmed from FEMA’s Map Modernization Program, a multiyear Presidential initiative funded by Congress from 2003 to 2008. Map Modernization improved and updated the nation’s flood maps, providing 92 percent of the nation’s population with digitized maps.
In 2004, the SARA, and its BRWM partners undertook a comprehensive effort to update Bexar County’s floodplain maps as part of FEMA’s Map Modernization Program. In addition to converting the maps to a digital format, the BRWM updated flood studies and re-mapped many areas of the floodplain that were originally mapped in the 1970s.
FEMA approved the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) for Bexar County in March 2010, and for Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad Counties in October 2010. Therefore, floodplain maps for your area might have changed based on more up-to-date flood studies.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Flood damage is not covered by your homeowners insurance policy. In order for your home to be protected in the event of a flood, you will need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.
No. Federal disaster assistance offers loans to help cover flood damage, not compensation for your losses. Even then, those loans are only available if the President formally declares a disaster. Fewer than 10 percent of all weather emergencies in the United States are declared disasters.
You must live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to qualify for National Flood Insurance. The communities in Bexar County are all participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
It’s a good idea to buy flood insurance even if you live in a low- or moderate-risk area. Almost 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from areas with minimal flood risk.
The purchase of flood insurance is mandatory to qualify for Federal or federally-backed financial assistance for the acquisition and/or construction of buildings in high-risk flood areas (Special Flood Hazard Areas). If the property is not in a high-risk area, but instead in a low- to moderate-risk area, the law does not require flood insurance; however, it is recommended since historically about one-in-four flood claims come from these low- to moderate-risk areas. Note that if during the life of the loan the maps are revised and the property is now in the high-risk area, your lender will notify you that you must purchase flood insurance. If you do not purchase flood insurance, the lender will purchase a policy on your behalf, which could be at a much higher rate.
Many private insurance companies offer Excess Flood Protection, which provides higher limits of coverage than the NFIP, in the event of catastrophic loss by flooding. The maximum coverage the NFIP offers is $250,000 for dwelling coverage, and $100,000 for contents coverage.
You can contact your insurance agent to provide you with a flood determination. This will provide you with the flood zone your home is located in.
Here are links to web sites for some agencies and organizations related to Bexar Regional Watershed Management (BRWM):
www.co.wilson.tx.us (Wilson County)
www.co.karnes.tx.us (Karnes County)
www.co.goliad.tx.us (Goliad County)
www.sanantonio.gov (City of San Antonio)
wp-sara-tx.sara-tx.org (San Antonio River Authority)
www.fema.gov (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
www.tdi.state.tx.us (Texas Department of Insurance)
www.aacog.com (Alamo Area Council of Governments)
www.nws.noaa.gov (National Weather Service)