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The cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento face a constant threat of flooding because of their position near the confluence of two major rivers. With the major floods of 1986 and 1997, the Sacramento region experienced firsthand two close calls that remind us that we must always be vigilant to protect ourselves from flooding. One of Congresswoman Matsui’s top priorities is to minimize our risk of flooding, which includes maintaining and strengthening the region’s levee and dam system while taking a wider, watershed approach to managing high-water events.

Protecting a major urban area from flooding is complex, and takes many different partners working together to achieve shared goals. It is critical that residents in the Sacramento region have the flood insurance they need to protect their homes and businesses from potential flood damage. That is why Congresswoman Matsui works every day to lower insurance costs for ratepayers and to invest in the flood protection infrastructure we need to avoid flooding altogether.

For more information on Congresswoman Matsui’s flood protection agenda, please review the items below:


  • Secured more than $500 million in federal investments over the life of the Joint Federal Project at Folsom Dam.
  • Gained federal authorization for the Natomas Levee Improvement Program and obtained over $52 million in initial federal funding to begin construction of this project to strengthen Natomas’ levees.
  • Worked with FEMA to ensure Natomas residents have access to low-cost Preferred Risk Policies through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Folsom Dam Spillway -- Joint Federal Project

The Joint Federal Project at Folsom Dam is a nearly $1 billion effort that will more than double Sacramento’s flood protection through the construction of an auxiliary spillway at Folsom Dam. Congresswoman Matsui led the fight in Congress to authorize construction of the spillway in 2007. Since that time, Congresswoman Matsui has fought every year for federal funding to ensure the project was completed on time in 2017. Congresswoman Matsui secured more than $500 million in federal investments over the life of the Joint Federal Project at Folsom Dam.

Levee Improvements

Congresswoman Matsui has worked hard over many years to strengthen Sacramento’s levees and secure Federal funds for investments in the region’s flood protection infrastructure. While the Sacramento region’s levees are the strongest they have ever been, there is still more work to do to ensure we have the flood protection our region deserves. Congresswoman Matsui is working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers to advance major levee strengthening projects — for the City of Sacramento and for the City of West Sacramento — with the potential to result in multiple billions of dollars of additional flood protection for the region.

Natomas Levee Improvements and Insurance Rates

Congresswoman Matsui led the charge to lift the de facto building moratorium imposed in Natomas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2008. Specifically, she worked to gain federal authorization in 2014 of a major push to strengthen the levees protecting the Natomas Basin, and FEMA lifted the moratorium in 2015.

Congresswoman Matsui has obtained $52 million in initial federal funding to strengthen Natomas levees. Protecting the people and businesses in Natomas is one of Congresswoman Matsui’s top priorities, and she looks forward to building on her previous work for the basin to ensure that the levees in Natomas are as strong as possible.

Advocating for Affordable Flood Insurance

In concert with her flood protection work, Congresswoman Matsui has long fought to keep flood insurance rates low for her constituents. As part of congressional debate on flood insurance reform, Congresswoman Matsui successfully wrote an amendment guaranteeing that flood insurance rates will not skyrocket overnight. Thanks to these efforts, Sacramento residents were spared rate increases of thousands of dollars in a given year.

While this was important progress, Congresswoman Matsui knows that any flood insurance increase can be a hardship for working families. She will continue advocating to keep flood insurance rates as low as possible, even as she pursues additional federal investment to protect against the threats of flooding in the first place.

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