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Flood Damage Assessment Tools

This site contains economic flood damage assessment models developed by NRCS since the 1960s. The older DOS URB1 and ECON2 models are formulated specifically to look at urban and rural flood damages in PL83-566 sized watersheds. They take flow frequencies and cross sectional rating curves imported directly from the NRCS programs, WSP2 and TR20. These programs can also be used with the appropriate USACE programs like HEC2. The current version of ECON2 and URB1 was last revised 1991, and have been replaced with software from the USACE Hydrologic Engineering Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Hydrologic Engineering Center's Flood Damage Analysis (HEC-FDA) computer program is designed to assist Corps of Engineers study team members in using risk-based analysis methods for flood-damage-reduction studies as required by the Corps (EM 1110-2-1419).  The approach explicitly incorporates descriptions of uncertainty of key parameters and functions into project benefit and performance analyses.  The software:

  • 1) stores hydrologic and economic data necessary for an analysis,
  • 2) provides tools to visualize data and results,
  • 3) computes expected annual damage (EAD) and equivalent annual damages,
  • 4) computes annual exceedance probability (AEP) and conditional non-exceedance probability as required for levee certification, and,
  • 5) implements the risk analysis procedures described in EM 1110-2-1619.   
    The current software version 1.4 and documentation are available at CCE Certification of HEC FDA 1.4 is under review.  In January, 2005, 20 NRCS economists received training on the HEC-FDA model at the USACE Hydrologic Engineering Center in Davis, CA.

The Hydrologic Engineering Center's Flood Impact Analysis (HEC-FIA) computer program version 2.2 is designed to analyze the consequences from any specific flood event. It calculates damages to structures and contents, losses to agriculture, and estimates the potential for life loss. HEC-FIA can also assist Corps Planning studies by looking at single events deterministically to support the OSE account with Life Loss and population at risk, or through helping to determine the impacts to agriculture for typical events for the study region. HEC-FIA can only be used to compute annual benefits across the full range of potential flood events, and in compliance with Corps policies regarding risk and uncertainty analysis, when used in conjunction with programs like HEC-WAT with the FRA compute option, DAM-RAE, or @Risk.  HEC-FIA is typically used to perform dam and levee failure scenario analysis to support consequence estimates to determine the risk posed or prevented by Corps Projects. The current software version 2.2 and documentation are available at  CCE Certification of HEC-FIA 2.2 is under review.  

The National Water Management Center has a contract with USACE-HEC to provide assistance on the suite of HEC products. George Townsley is the NRCS contact for coordination with the HEC group for HEC-FDA and HEC-FIA. 

The FEMA Hazus Multi Hazard (MH) version 2.2 contains models for estimating potential losses from earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. Hazus uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology (ArcGIS 10.2.2) to estimate physical, economic and social impacts of disasters. It graphically illustrates the limits of identified high-risk locations due to earthquake, hurricane and floods. The software estimates damages for 10-year to 500-year return period for commercial, residential, and agricultural asset classes. The current software version 2.2 and documentation are available at Certification of Hazus MH 2.2 is under review.

 Example Plans Of Work (POW) and To-Do Items for Project Evaluations
CA Watershed POW, (XLS, 28KB)
East Locust MO POW, (XLS, 35KB)
Pick Creek MO POW, (DOC, 55KB)
Coon Creek Rehab ND POW, (XLS, 76KB)
Project Planning Chart and POW, (XLS, 26KB)
Work Items Needed for Evaluation of Irrigation Project, (PDF, 402KB)
Work Items Needed for Evaluation of Watershed Protection Project, (PDF, 321KB)
Work Items Needed for Evaluation of Agricultural Flooding, (PDF, 340KB)
Work Items Needed for Evaluation of Urban Flood Damages, (PDF, 318KB)
National Watershed Program Manual (PDF, 1.5MB),
National Watershed Program Handbook (PDF, 2.3MB)
NRCS Older Technical Notes and References

Other Flood Damage Information Sources

NRCS Flood Control Documentation, Models and Documentation Downloads

Model Name/Link NRCS Contact
National Watershed Program Manual (PDF, 1.5MB),
National Watershed Program Handbook (PDF, 2.3MB)
George Townsley
MI CPPE and Rapid Watershed Assessment Tool, (XLS, 1.42MB) June Moss, MI
Rapid Watershed Assessment Lessons Learned (PPT, 1.78MB) Jan Surface
Search for the Elusive 35%; A Sponsor Dilemma (DOC, 83KB)
Search for the Elusive 35%; A Sponsor Dilemma (PPT, 5MB)
James Featherston
Kansas Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program (PPT, 3.6MB)
PL-566 Benefits in Kansas
Paul Gallagher
Watershed Economics Training (PPT, 58K) George Townsley
HAZUS HMR3 Flood Model Technical Manual (PDF, 400KB) George Townsley
CCE Installation of NRCS URB1, Econ2, and CARE DOS programs (ZIP, 1.4MB); David Buland
Part 611 NRCS NationalWater Resources Handbook for Economics George Townsley
Emergency Watershed Protection George Townsley
National Flood Insurance Program Administration Costs (XLS, 17KB)
P & G 2.4.12(b) allows reductions in the administrative costs associated with the NFIP to be claimed as NED benefits in those alternatives which effectively remove properties from the 100-year floodplain.  
The attached spreadsheet shows the derivation of the average annual administrative expenses per-policy over the period 2000-2004 of $167 (2007-QII dollar terms, as of August 30, 2007). As far as I can tell, these are the latest published data.
George Townsley
Flood Damage Excel Spreadsheet Version of the Urb1 Flood Control Model(XLS, 177 KB) Hal Gordon
Economist Role in Water Resource Programs(PPT, 2.7MB) by Bruce Julian, 10/2002
ECON2 Program
ECON2 Users Manual
Agricultural Flood Water Damage Economic Evaluation (63.3 KB)
AZ Crop Damage Factors(260 KB)
David Buland

URB1 Program
URB1 Data Development Procedures
URB1 PC Users Manual (1990 version)
URB1 PROGRAM Checklist
Urban Flood Water Damage Economic Evaluation Tool (49.2 KB)
Coreona SD Econ2 2007 Input Data (XLS, 158KB)
MO Bridge Stage Damage Tables Study (DOC, 54KB)
New Mexico Depth Damage Data (XLS, 622 KB)
USACE Depth Damage Factors (34 KB)
USACE Without Basement Depth Damage Factors (34 KB)
USACE Basement Depth Damage Factors (246 KB)
USACE Commercial Depth Damage Factors (38 KB)

David Buland
DE (ZIP, 86.1 KB)
DOS Data Entry Program for Econ2 & URB1
Damage Survey Report (DSR), OMB #05780030, NRCS-PDM-20, v7/2005 (PDF, 260 KB)
Flood Damage Commercial and Industrial Interview Form, (PDF)
Flood Damage Residential Properties Interview Form, (PDF)
Flood Damage Transportation and Utilities Interview Form, (PDF)
A Manual Procedure to Estimate Annual Crop and Pasture Flood Damages, (PDF)
Partial Duration Frequency Series in Estimating Floodwater Damages, (PDF)
Economics - Basic Data for Evaluating Floodwater Damages to Crops and Pastures in the Northeast (Using Econ 2) (PDF)
Procedures for Evaluating Flatland Flood Damages, (PDF)
Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004
 Rock House Creek, KY, Economic Appendix, 2007

Note:  The USDA programs Econ2 and URB1 are DOS-based programs that need a Windows XP or older PC.