An Assessment of the Benefits of DWR’s Levee Inspection Program in California’s Central Valley

This white paper describes how we developed and demonstrated a method for estimating the benefit of the levee inspection program that the California Department of Water Resources carries out on over 1,600 miles of levees in the Central Valley. We measured the benefit of DWR’s levee inspection program by computing the reduction in flood risk attributable to levee flood fighting and maintenance activities — the activities that result directly from the inspection program.

The study found that levee maintenance reduces expected annual damage, statistical lives lost, and expected annual loss of habitat acreage, as well as flood fighting reduces expected annual damage and statistical lives lost. A systematic, repeatable and understandable procedure for assessing risk reduction attributable to flood fighting and levee maintenance activities, using expert opinion elicitation to provide information otherwise unattainable, was developed and applied successfully.

Assessment of the Benefits of DWR’s Levee Inspection Program