Levees and Flood Control

Levees and Flood Control

The system constructed and maintained by government to prevent the overflow of water.

A levee is an embankment constructed by the states along a body of water to prevent the flooding of lands adjacent to the water. The federal government also has power, by virtue of the Commerce Clause, to prevent and control flooding, since flood control protects Navigable Waters.

As a general rule, the power to construct or establish levees is vested in public authorities and not in individuals. Levee districts are the public agencies most frequently involved in the creation of flood control projects for the purpose of constructing and maintaining flood control improvements for the protection of the general public. The state legislature has power to create levee districts. Subject to constitutional limitations, a tax can be imposed for levees and for general flood control improvements. A state legislature can levy, assess, and tax directly, or it can delegate the power to local levee districts. Generally, only property which is benefited by the flood control project can be subject to a tax assessment.