Resources for Communities

The federal government requires communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to adopt updated floodplain regulatory language to comply with NFIP requirements.

State of Delaware Model Flood Ordinance

The DNREC Floodplain Management Program assists local communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by providing guidance for the development, maintenance and administration of floodplain ordinances that comply with NFIP requirements set forth in 44 CFR 60.3.

Model flood ordinances have been developed by DNREC for both coastal and non-coastal communities and are based on the types of flood hazard faced by a community. These model ordinances meet the minimum standard requirements of the NFIP but also incorporate language from the recommendations of the Delaware Floodplain and Drainage Advisory Committee created through Senate Bill 64. There are models for communities wanting to adopt higher floodplain standards, which can reduce flood damage and lower flood insurance premiums.

The following model flood ordinances meet FEMA’s NFIP requirements and are reviewed annually to ensure continued compliance. All models include some provisions that were recommended by the Floodplain and Drainage Advisory Committee to clarify the basic requirements of the NFIP. Model versions identified by “SB64” contain language for “Higher Standards.”

Choose the model that is representative of the flood zone(s) present in your community:

Communities with only Zones AE, AO and/or A

Communities with both Zones AE and VE

Substantial Damage and Substantial Improvement

The state of Delaware has prepared a Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage Guidance document to help communities and property owners in recovering from events which cause damage to structures in the floodplain.

Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage Workshop

Substantial Damage is damage of any origin sustained by a structure where the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

Substantial Improvement is any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred substantial damage, regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not include any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified prior to the application for a development permit by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions.

The NFIP Requires that if a structure in the floodplain is determined by the local floodplain administrator to be substantially damaged or substantially improved, it must be brought into compliance with local floodplain management regulations.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a Substantial Damage Estimator (SDE) Tool and a Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage Desk Reference document.

The First State Watermark Newsletter

DNREC publishes an occasional newsletter, the First State Watermark, to share information and updates with local governments, floodplain managers, and the public.