Stormwater /Floodplain Management

Management Practices

Ponca City is now recognized as one of the top communities in the State for floodplain management.
  • Class 5 CRS (Community Rating System), an enhanced floodplain management program. Because of these efforts, residents of Ponca City receive a 25% discount on flood insurance premiums.
  • Three Certified Floodplain Managers (CFM) on staff.
  • Adopted a stormwater utility fee to fund floodplain management and stormwater pollution prevention activities and projects in accordance with federal mandates
  • Applied for and received over $1,000,000 in FEMA funding to remove structures that have sustained repetitive damage due to flooding
  • Go to for more information.

Flood Hazard

Residents of Ponca City face the threat of flooding from two primary sources: releases from upstream Kaw Dam and flash flooding. While the May 2019 floods illustrate that heavy releases from Kaw Dam can cause significant damage, flash flooding is much more common threat. To address this, in 2005, the City hired Meshek & Associates to develop a master drainage plan. Over four years of work, the plan inventoried the entire drainage system and then identified weaknesses and developed and prioritized projects to eliminate or substantially reduce flooding and localized drainage problems.

One result of this plan was new FIRMs (Flood Insurance Rate Map), adopted by FEMA, and used to identify and assess flood risk for homes and businesses. These have been incorporated into the National Flood Hazard Layer.

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is the number one thing you can do to protect your home. Most normal home insurance policies do not cover damages from floods. If you rent your home, you can get "Content Coverage" for your belongings. Contact your insurance agent to get more information on flood insurance.

Elevation Certificates -are often the first step toward coverage. Since flood insurance is based on the risk of flooding, knowing the elevation of your home (including the lowest floor, any mechanical equipment such as air conditioners or water heaters, attached garages, and the lowest part of your yard that touches the house, known as the Lowest Adjacent Grade) are critical bits of information. Only a Civil Engineer or a Licensed Land Surveyor can collect this information. The City has many Elevation Certificates already on file. Check here to see if your home has one

Building in the Floodplain

Buildings can be safely constructed in the floodplain, and the City of Ponca City has a number of rules to make sure that happens.

All Construction inside the City requires a permit. The permitting officer will check your property and consult with one of the floodplain managers to determine whether a floodplain development permit will also be required. If it is, some additional steps will need to be taken. More information about everything listed below can be found on the City's Building Services Web Page, or by viewing the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.

New Construction

  • Pre-construction Elevation Certificate - An elevation will be determined for your building that will protect it from expected flooding. This is also often required by banks if you are receiving a loan to construct.
  • Freeboard. This elevation will be 1 foot above the flood level expected during a 100-year event. This freeboard will provide tolerance for any future development or other changes in the floodplain
  • Compensatory Storage. Any fill material that reduces floodplain storage capacity must be compensated in a 1:1 ratio on the same property and under similar hydraulic and hydrologic conditions. Volumes and hydrology must be determined by a Civil Engineer licensed to work in the State of Oklahoma.
  • Floodplain Development Permit. This will ensure that all work done in the floodplain will adhere to the City's regulations.
  • Post-construction Elevation Certificate. This is the final Elevation Certificate, which the City must approve and keep on file, and will be used to determine the risk (which translates into dollars) of flooding that your new building has.

Substantial Damage/Substantial Improvements are cases in which work will be performed to a structure that exceeds 50% of the existing value of the structure.

Substantial Improvements for buildings in the floodplain must be in compliance with City regulations, including requirements for freeboard, flood resistant materials, compacted fill, compensatory storage, and many others. Contact the building department to learn more.

Substantially Damaged buildings in the floodplain must be brought into compliance with the City's stormwater regulations as if they were new construction. This can require elevating a structure or other floodproofing techniques to the freeboard requirements listed above and moving mechanical devices such as air conditioners and water heaters out of harm's way.

Stormwater Quality

Learn about the City of Ponca City's Stormwater Quality Department.

Flood Safety

Flood Safety Brochure 2016

Flood Reference Library

Homeowners Guide to Retrofitting - Six Ways to Protect Your Home From Flooding

Above the Flood Elevating Your Floodprone House