Property Flood Protection

How to Protect Your Property

Flooding is not covered by a standard homeowner's insurance policy and for residents living within the special flood hazard areas of the city. A separate flood insurance policy is required to cover damages incurred by flooding. Coverage is available for the building itself as well as for the contents of the building.

The City of Watsonville participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that makes available federally backed flood insurance for all residents and commercial buildings, whether or not they are located within the floodplain*. Contact your insurance agency for more information.

Flood insurance information is also available at the Watsonville Engineering Division and in the Watsonville Public Library or online from the NFIP.

*Note that there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.

Keep Drainage Channels & Pipes Free of Obstruction & Debris

The City of Watsonville regularly cleans City storm drain pipes and street inlets to keep trash and pollutants from reaching our waterways and beaches. The City has 50 miles of storm drain pipes and 2,000 storm water inlets. You can view the City's Stormwater Management Plan (PDF).

One other important consideration, the City Municipal Code Section XXX prohibits the discharge of pollutants, litter or other refuse into the City's storm drains, creeks and other waterways. Such dumping can have devastating impacts on water quality in addition to causing flooding. To report obstructions or illegal dumping, or for questions regarding the stormwater drainage system maintenance, please contact the Public Works and Utilities' Customer Service at 831-768-3133.

Protect Your Property From the Hazards of Flooding & Wind

Various methods may be used to minimize flood damage. If the floor level of your property is lower than the "Base Flood Elevation" (elevation of the 100-year flood, based on the FEMA maps), consider elevating your structure, if possible. In areas which are not in the A-99 Zone all living areas in a home, must be elevated above the FEMA Base Flood Elevation.

Brochures discussing flood proofing and other mitigation measures are available in the City of Watsonville Public Library and more extensive information is available at the FEMA website:

If a flood is imminent, property can be protected by sandbagging areas subject to the entry of water into living spaces. Sandbag information is available online.

Valuables and furniture may also be moved to higher areas of the dwelling to minimize damages. Attaching plywood or specially made panels over windows and patio doors may help protect against high wind damages associated with severe winter storms.

If there is a storm inlet in front of your house you can adopt a storm drain and use a rake to keep the inlet grate clear of debris during a rain event to allow the water to enter freely. If you don't have an inlet in front of your house, you can still help out by keeping the gutter clean and free of litter and debris. It is this material that can also block an inlet and restrict the flow of water into the inlet.

Meet Permitting Requirements

All development within the City requires a permit. Always check and fulfill permitting requirements with the Community Development at 831-768-3050 before you build on, alter, fill, or re-grade on any portion of your property and/or within any easement or right-of-way. Also, contact the above numbers above to report any suspected permitting violations.

How to Prepare Before the Storm

The City of Watsonville provides a brochure with information on the steps to take before a flood event. This Flood Guide (PDF) should be printed and made a part of your emergency supplies.