The Army Corps of Engineers has announced that it will no longer be willing to pony-up the money needed to rebuild levees in the event of a major disaster. The change in guarantees comes as a treaty between the Corps and the State expires.

The immediate impacts of this change may not be felt immediately, but thousands of residents who had been able to survive without flood insurance, or low levels of coverage, may be forced to purchase more comprehensive plans. Although recent deterioration or degradation in the system of levees was not detected, a number of violations were discovered between 2009 and 2011, when the Corps last did a full-scale survey.

Some of the violations were as slight as home owners building patios or stairs on levees, others are more sever, with farmers building pipes to irrigate fields.

The recently released Central Valley Flood Plan did not go far enough in the eyes of the Corps to correct some of the failures. As a result, the change in policy was announced.

Local governments – including the cities of Sacramento, Fresno, and others – do have the option to hire a private engineer to recertify the levels to FEMA standards, which is different than the ones used by the Corps.

From the Sacramento Bee:

Levees protecting most of the city of Sacramento and 15 other areas of the Central Valley were declared today to have failed federal maintenance criteria. As a result, they are no longer eligible for federal rebuilding funds in the event of a levee breach.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made the declaration today. It did so after concluding that a new state plan to improve Central Valley levees does not provide enough detail to ensure maintenance problems — such as erosion and intrusion by structures — will be fixed.

Read the full article here.