More resources will now be made available for San Francisco property owners who are at risk of flooding during a major rainstorm. Last week, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) approved an increase to the agency’s Floodwater Management Grant Program budget that allows the SFPUC to reimburse eligible property owners up to $100,000 for improvements to structures that help protect against the risk of flooding. That’s up from $30,000 in the previous version of the program. Additionally, the SFPUC expanded the types of flood proofing projects that are eligible for grant funding. The increased resources are all part of RainReadySF, the City’s comprehensive flood resilience strategy that the SFPUC rolled out in October this rainy season.
“As a City, we are committed to providing our residents with as many resources as possible to adapt to the changing climate,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly. “This additional funding will provide more property owners with an opportunity to take a holistic approach to protecting their homes and businesses from the risk of flooding during major rainstorms. We will continue to work with our residents to develop new and innovative ways to reduce the risk of flooding.”
The SFPUC overhauled the Floodwater Management Grant Program with owner affordability and resources in mind. As part of the revamped program, grant funding for eligible applicants can be distributed in the form of installment payments. That helps property owners who may need to make major improvements but don’t have the financial means to pay for the entire project all at once. Instead, they can receive reimbursement at multiple points during construction corresponding to when they pay their contractors.
Residents who own their homes will see an increase in reimbursement too. For owner-occupied homes, the SFPUC will cover up to 90 percent of the cost of flood proofing projects. That’s up from 80 percent in the previous version of the program.
The upgrades to the Floodwater Management Grant Program come after the SFPUC approved an increase to the program’s budget for this year from $200,000 to $1.75 million, and recommended $2 million per year for the next two fiscal years.
Click here to start the Floodwater Management Grant Program process
Property owners can apply for a Floodwater Management Grant Program online at www.sfwater.org/floodwatergrants. The webpage also includes a list of example flood proof project concepts. Applicants are encouraged to work with their engineer and/or contractor to identify the appropriate project type for their property.
Identifying qualified contractors to do the work
In order to make it easier for applicants to find experienced contractors, the SFPUC is compiling a list of professionals who are capable of completing flood proof projects. The SFPUC posted a Solicitation of Interest (SOI) on the SFPUC website inviting contractors and engineers to submit a questionnaire summarizing their relevant experience performing flood proofing projects in San Francisco. The SFPUC intends to use the SOI to generate an online list of contractors and engineers that property owners may use to identify professionals and obtain bids for potential products that are funded by the Floodwater Management Grant Program on their private properties. This list is intended to serve as a resource for grant applicants and ease the process of implementing a grant-funded project on their properties to reduce flood risk. The SFPUC plans to hold an information session on the SOI in late January 2018. Until then, the SFPUC is already providing assistance in selecting contractors with a list of contractors who have bid on projects that were submitted for funding through this Grant Program by other applicants.
In addition to Floodwater Management Grant Program, the SFPUC is working with other City departments and the Board of Supervisors to develop requirements to incorporate flood resilience into San Francisco neighborhoods over time, such as
- Better flood maps so property owners are aware of potential flood risks;
- Building code changes for new construction standards in flood areas; and
- Flood-protection requirements for property sales and renovations.