Q: Where can I find information and answers to general floodplain questions on protecting my home from flooding? A: For more information, please the City Zoning Administrator at Saugatuck City Hall (268) 857-2603; Flood Information on the web -- FEMA, Saugatuck Douglas Library or Saugatuck Floodplain Map. Q: What is a floodplain? A: A floodplain is an area adjacent to a river, lake or stream that will be inundated by water when a flood occurs. Every river, lake or stream has a floodplain associated with it. Q: What is the floodway? A: It is the area of the floodplain that should be reserved (kept free of obstructions) to allow floodwaters to move downstream. Placing fill or buildings in a floodway may block the flow of water and increase flood heights. Because of this, your community will require that you submit engineering analyses before it approves permits for development in the floodway. Q: What is a 100-year flood? A: The term "100-year flood" is often incorrectly used and can be misleading. It does not mean that only one flood of that size will occur every 100 years. The term is a statement of probability that scientists and engineers use to describe how one flood compares to others that are likely to occur. Today, we use the phrase "1-percent annual chance flood." What it means is that there is a 1-percent chance of a flood of that size happening in any year. Over a 100-year period, it has a 63.5-percent chance of occurring. Even more surprising is that over a 30-year period (typical mortgage period), the 1-percent annual chance flood has a 26-percent chance of occurring. This means a home in the mapped flood hazard area is five times more likely to be damaged by flood than to have a major fire. Q: What is a 100-year floodplain? A: The area that will be inundated by the 100-year flood. It is also the area that is referred to by FEMA as the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). It is the area of a community where development must be regulated through a local ordinance conforming to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Q: What is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and what is their purpose? A: The U.S. Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The NFIP is a Federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance as a protection against flood losses in exchange for State and community floodplain management regulations that reduce future flood damages. Participation in the NFIP is based on an agreement between communities and the Federal Government. If a community adopts and enforces a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risk to new construction in floodplains, the Federal Government will make flood insurance available within the community as a financial protection against flood losses. This insurance is designed to provide an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to reduce the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods.