Screen capture from the Know Your Line—High Water Mark Initiative project in Sacramento, CA

High Water Mark Initiative

This outreach initiative encourages communities to post high-visibility reminders of past floods that can improve public awareness of flood risk and encourage residents to take action to reduce it.

The High Water Mark Initiative, created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and piloted in seven diverse communities, seeks to improve the public’s awareness of flood risk and encourage them to take action to reduce it. The initiative helps communities showcase their local flooding history and motivate their residents to take action by posting high water mark signs in prominent places to show how high flood waters have risen in the past. Communities are encouraged to hold a high profile event to announce the initiative, followed by supporting outreach to remind residents of their flood risk over time and prompt them to take steps to reduce it.

Flexible tools and materials

FEMA and its partners developed tools, templates, and other materials that communities can customize to launch their own Know Your Line initiative. This flexibility allows communities to choose materials and outreach tactics that work best for them. As part of the program, communities:

  • Host a high-profile HWM sign unveiling and/or launch event
  • Develop continuous flood risk awareness and outreach activities around the signs, and
  • Complete specific mitigation actions that the community will take to reduce flood risk for residents.
Last modified
18 October 2021 - 8:20am