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Flooding Risk in Utah

In terms of economic loss, floods are the most destructive natural disaster in Utah. They can cause loss of life, property damage and destruction, damage and disruption of communications transportation, utilities, agricultural losses and interrupt businesses. They also increase the likelihood of hazards such as transportation accidents, contamination of water supplies. Flooding can also release contaminants into water creating a health and environmental hazards.

Even if floods were to continue at the same rate of occurrence, flood risk would still increase. That is because an increase in human population and associated structures create a situation where there is more to lose even if flood intensity and periodicity remain the same. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that from 2010-2020 Utah’s population increased over 17%. That makes it one of the country’s fastest growing states. Some of this population is moving into areas where flood risk is high. Since this newly developed land has never been assessed for risk, property owners may be completely unaware that they are in living in a floodplain.