Established in 1959 by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors per legislation enacted by the Arizona Legislature, the Flood Control District of Maricopa County provides flood hazard identification, prevention, regulation and remediation to reduce the risk of injury, loss of life and property damage from flooding in the County.
The District was formed in response to significant flooding events that plagued Maricopa County during its early history. The area's Sonoran Desert environment is conducive to flooding due to unique soil and topography characteristics, winter and summer rainy seasons, and numerous natural riverbeds, washes and channels. During a rainstorm, these normally dry waterways can quickly become raging rivers causing widespread overland flooding when unchecked. Initially the District focused on building dams (flood retarding structures), basins and channels to prevent flooding. Unprecedented population growth and development in the County since the 1990s, however, shifted the District's emphasis to: 1) dynamic flood education programs to inform citizens about flood hazards; 2) the identification of specific hazard areas so County residents will make informed decisions about where to build; and 3) the control of development that directly impacts waterways through a mandated drainage administration and floodplain management regulation program.
Flood control structures are operated and maintained by the District with a commitment to minimizing environmental impacts while enhancing the quality of life for residents living near them. Aesthetically pleasing, multi-use facilities meld with the desert environment, providing flood protection along with hiking trails, bike paths and open space enjoyed by the residents of Maricopa County.
Ongoing projects and long-term planning by the District guarantee residents of Maricopa County the maximum level of protection from the effects of flooding through fiscally responsible flood control management. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors serves as the District's Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has appointed a Flood Control Advisory Board comprised of county citizens to serve as an advisory body. A secondary property tax on parcels within Maricopa County provides the bulk of the District's funding.