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Floodprone Land Acquisition Program

Program Background

The District's Floodprone Land Acquisition Program began in 1984, in response to the October 1983 flood event. Initially, the program focused on purchasing properties damaged in the 1983 event and providing relocation assistance to flooded property owners. Later, the program was expanded to include the acquisition of undeveloped properties and upper watershed areas. One of the District's major purchases involved nearly 4,000 acres of land located along Cienega Creek. The purchase of the Cienega Creek Preserve provides significant flood control benefits, but also accomplishes important riparian habitat preservation and open space objectives.

Besides minimizing flood damages to specific parcels, floodprone land acquisition yields a number of other important benefits. One immediate advantage is that purchasing undeveloped floodprone property eliminates the need for structural flood control improvements (such as bank stabilization, levees, etc.) that would otherwise be needed to protect these parcels. Another benefit is that the parcel's natural floodplain characteristics are preserved, which in turn helps reduce downstream flooding peaks. Floodprone land acquisition also helps create recreational opportunities, maintain urban open space, preserve riparian habitat and enhance ground water quality. In addition, these purchases help preserve overbank storage characteristics in up stream areas, and prevent development from occurring in vulnerable locations.

Purchasing flood and erosion prone land is a cost-effective strategy for minimizing flood damages. By acquiring floodprone land, the District can eliminate future losses on the acquired parcels. Through its award-winning Floodprone Land Acquisition Program (FLAP) the District has purchased over 14,000 acres of floodprone land throughout Pima County.  Check out our FLAP photo gallery in Flickr for "before and after" photographs of floodprone properties purchased by the District.

The Floodprone Land Acquisition Program is a "willing seller, willing buyer" program.  The District does not use eminent domain to force Individuals to sell their property to the District through the FLAP.  Property owners must request that the District purchase the property.  The District then determines whether or not it wants to purchase the property, based on such factors as the severity of the flood hazards on the property, the property location in relation to other public lands, and available funding. To request an assessment of your property for eligibility in FLAP, please submit a Floodprone Land Acquisition (FLAP) Form (Updated online form). The old PDF version of the Floodprone Land Acquisition Program (FLAP) Form may also be completed.

Fiscal Year 

Land Purchased (acres)

Total Cost

FY 2014/15



FY 2015/16



FY 2016/17



FY 2017/18



FY 2018/19



FY 2019/20  86.91 $694,450