Skip to main content

What to do in a flood

If you see a problem during a flood, you should immediately contact the District office at 916-922-1449. (Alternatively, you may also contact the State-Federal Flood Center at 1-800-952-5530). Typical problems you might report are:

  • water “boiling” near the toe of the levee or in your back yard if you live next to the levee;
  • water seeping or pouring out of the side of the levee;
  • a portion of landside levee slope has slipped away;
  • a portion of the levee top has washed out or has settled creating a depression in the top.
  • the waterside berm or levee slope is being eroded by the river and failing

Problems with plugged storm drain inlets, flooded streets, or operations at detention basins should not be reported to the District. These problems should be reported to the City of Sacramento (916-264-5371) or the County of Sacramento (916-875-RAIN)(7246) depending on where you live.

image of a levee boil
Boil in North Drain near Sacramento River levee

Levee Patrols

When the river or creeks reach a pre-determined level, the District will begin 24-hour levee patrols. The District's trucks, equipped with large spotlights, will be on top of the levee looking for boils, seepage, or other signs of levee distress described above. Please respect these vehicles and do not block their access. Since much of the District's levees also serve as public roads, we ask that you be careful when passing one of our vehicles and understand we may be stopping in the roadway and getting out of our vehicles if we see a potential problem. It is important that you not drive a private vehicle on levees that are not public roads at any time but especially during a flood. If the water levels continue to rise, the District has agreements with the City, County, and others to provide additional staff to assist with levee patrols.

Emergency Flood Response

If a levee problem is spotted, the District is prepared to respond with materials and equipment. The District has a stockpile of sandbags and rock to initiate a flood fight. Should the need be greater than the available resources, the District will call upon local contractors who are ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week to an emergency with major equipment, flood fight materials and labor as necessary. It is very important for residents to stay away from a flood fight operation for their own safety.

During a flood fight, the District staff and our contractors must have to access the areas adjacent to the levee. This is why the District highly discourages adjacent property owners from encroaching on or immediately adjacent to the levee with fences, walls, structures or vegetation. If necessary, the District will remove those encroachments which interfere with the flood fight operations. However, any delays due to these issues could be critical in preventing the levee from degrading.

Should the flood emergency escalate beyond the resources available to the District, a chain of events will take place which will lead to the Army Corps of Engineers assuming responsibility for the emergency flood response. This is a seamless transition that will occur quickly to ensure all means necessary are deployed to prevent the levee from failing.

Evacuation Notice

Evacuation notices are issued by the local government agency such as the City or County of Sacramento for its residents. You are urged to follow the notices which will be issued on television or radio.