ODPEM Government of Jamaica
Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
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Non-Structural Flood Control Measures in Jamaica

In general, non-structural flood control schemes require little or no construction work and low capital costs.


Flood Plain Regulations

Flood plain regulations designate flood-prone areas and limit their use to those compatible with the degree of flood-risk.

These are used for several purposes:

  • To prevent new development in flood-prone areas, that could result in loss of life and property.
  • To inform and protect buyers purchasing lands in flood-prone areas.
  • To prevent encroachments that decrease the flood carrying capacity of flood plains, or otherwise aggravate flood problems.
  • To reduce public costs for emergency operations such as evacuation, relief and reconstruction.
  • To preserve natural flood plain values and characteristics.
  • To reduce future expenditure for the operation and maintenance of flood control structures.

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Reforestation and Crop Rotation

These are two of the most widely used methods worldwide for flood control.

Reforestation is an inexpensive but slow process. Programmes to prevent further deforestation and to establish large-scale reforestation in the upper catchment areas should be established as soon as possible.

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Flood Warning Systems
Flood warning systems include a number of rain gauges located in areas where maximum amounts of rainfall can be sampled, in conjunction with the data generated by properly located river gauges. The data is processed - usually by a computer - to forecast a warning that rain will generate flooding at a downstream location. The system is designed to  provide the maximum lead time for the evacuation of those persons and their property likely to be affected by a flood condition.

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Flood Plain Hazard Maps

The location of flood control structures depends largely on the information provided by Flood Plain Hazard Maps. This information presents a basis for assessing the priorities for supplementing existing programmes; for constructing or upgrading flood control structure and for preparing new schemes or programmes to protect life, agro- industrial lands, houses, buildings, etc.

Different flood-boundary limits are established by the maps, for various return periods (ie. 100,50,20,10,5 years). The location of required flood control measures should be carefully analysed on the basis of all the technical/scientific, economic and social factors indicated by flood hazard maps.


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