The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a voluntary program. Communities (i.e., local governments) decide to participate in the NFIP, which enables property owners to purchase insurance protection against losses from flooding. Specifically, communities that agree to manage special flood hazard areas (SFHA) by adopting minimum regulatory standards set forth in Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulation §60.3
If a community chooses not to participate in the NFIP, property owners in that jurisdiction are not able to purchase federally backed flood insurance. In addition, federal grants, loans, disaster assistance and federal mortgage insurance are unavailable for the acquisition or construction of structures in the floodplain shown on FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM).
Fortunately, all four of Hawaii’s counties are participating communities in the NFIP and have adopted floodplain development regulations consistent with 44CFR§60.3. In fact, all four counties have implemented higher regulatory standards (i.e. freeboard, cumulative substantial improvement provisions, etc.) in their local ordinances.
It’s important for property owners planning on building in or near a SFHA to understand the county floodplain development regulations and to discuss your plans with your county floodplain manager. The table below identifies each county’s floodplain manager, contact information, and links to their respective county’s floodplain development regulations and websites:
|County Floodplain |
|Phone Number||County Floodplain |
Bryce Harada, PE CFM
|(808) 961-8327||HCC Chapter 27||OPEN|
Mario Siu-Li, CFM
|(808) 768-8098||ROH Chapter 21A||OPEN|
Stanford Iwamoto, PE CFM
|(808) 241-4896||KCC Chapter 15||OPEN|
|(808) 270-7139||MCC Chapter 19.62||OPEN|
FEMA’s FAQ page provides engineers, surveyors, and architects answers to the most frequently asked questions on flood hazard mapping and understanding a community or property’s risk to floods. The information below goes into more detail for this audience on FEMA’s requirements and processes on mapping flood risk and flood zones.
Contact the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) if you have further questions or need additional assistance.
EVERYONE LIVES IN A FLOOD ZONE – FLOOD ZONE DEFINITIONS