Floodplain and Drainage Information

When it rains in Lincoln, stormwater flows into drainage inlets, gutters and underground pipes before reaching Salt Creek, which drains into the Platte River. Lincoln occasionally gets more rain than the storm drain system or streams can adequately convey, which can lead to flooding.

A floodplain is an area of land that is susceptible to flooding or that has flood prone soils. Approximately 13.8% of Lancaster County is covered by floodplains. Floodplains provide multiple benefits to both the natural (flood storage, habitat, water quality) and built (recreation, public health and safety, economic) environments. The overriding development policy for the floodplain is a "No Adverse Impact" policy for the City and County, which means that the community has a goal of insuring that the action of one property owner does not adversely impact the flooding risk for other properties.

Have a Plan

If you live in a floodplain, create and practice an emergency plan so your family will know what to do during a flood. Remember to plan for everyone in your home, including pets.

  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container or somewhere safe from floodwaters.
  • Assemble an emergency kit and keep it stocked. What will you need during a disaster? Ready.gov provides a list of items you may need
  • Map out and practice an evacuation route. Decide where you will go if you need to evacuate (hotel, home of friend or relative, evacuation shelter, etc.). Note: Evacuation shelter locations will be announced during a flood event at lincoln.ne.gov.
  • Have a plan to let loved ones know you are safe. The Red Cross has tips on reconnecting with loved ones during a disaster.
  • Know what to do after you return home. If your home was damaged by floodwater, follow these safety tips from Nebraska Emergency Management Agency when cleaning up. Be aware of mold, bacteria contamination, and other hazards.

Related: Local Flood Safety


For more information about protecting yourself and your property from flooding:

Things you can do to reduce your flood risk

  • 1. Know your flood hazard. Find out if your property is located in a flood prone area. Call Building & Safety at 402-441-6447 or Watershed Management at 402-441-7589.
  • 2. Insure your property for your flood hazard. Ask your insurance agent if you are covered for flood damage. Renters should buy flood insurance for their contents.
  • 3. Protect yourself from the hazard. Turn around, don’t drown; do not attempt to drive through, wade through or enter a flooded area/street.
  • 4. Protect your property from the hazard. Replace appliances/furnace/AC with ones that are elevated above the flood level. Store valuables and important papers upstairs in a waterproof container.
  • 5. Build responsibly - Obtain a permit from Building & Safety. Don’t build or grade within 10 feet from the property line so you don’t alter the drainage between homes. Use only licensed contractors who know the rules.
  • 6. Protect natural floodplain functions. Do not pollute storm drains and maintain detention/retention areas in your neighborhood.