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About Flood Free San Mateo

Flood Free San Mateo is a coalition of residents and city leaders, representing all five districts of San Mateo, who demand bold action to address flooding risk in our hometown. Following the severe winter storms and flooding we all faced last winter, the coalition is advocating for the use of emergency funds and passage of the Community Flood and Storm Protection Ballot Measure to dredge the Marina Lagoon, fix pumping stations, maintain storm drains, and retrofit creeks and culverts. These actions are necessary to keep residents and property safe across all areas of the city as strong winter storms become more frequent and intense.

To learn more and join the coalition, write to


Remembering Last Winter

Last New Year’s Day, residents in tens of neighborhoods across San Mateo awoke to intense flooding that caused millions in damage across thousands of properties. Losses included totaled cars, water-logged garages, flooding of primary dwelling areas, and tragically multiple deaths across San Mateo County. However, given the timing of the flood on a holiday, the true impact of the disaster was not immediately known to many city residents- with businesses, offices and schools closed for the day, people did not realize many streets across the city were under several feet of water. The same disaster on a regular Monday would have gridlocked the city and raised the alarm more clearly.

This is why Flood Free San Mateo is here. We want to ensure every resident of San Mateo is aware of the true flooding risks they face, and we want to do everything in our power to prevent similar disasters from occurring in the future.


Fixing our Infrastucture

Today, the City of San Mateo relies on its general fund to pay for storm water and flood prevention infrastructure. For this reason, investments are uneven and sporadic.

Much of the City’s storm water system, including creeks, culverts, pumping stations, storm drains and pipes, and the Marina Lagoon is more than 50 years of age and beyond its intended lifespan, increasing the likelihood of failures. Indeed, last New Year’s Eve and Day, the Marina Lagoon pumping station experienced several faults that exacerbated flooding in parts of the city.

On average, the City of San Mateo spends $3.2 million per year to maintain basic storm water system operations. However, this is not enough to expand and upgrade infrastructure as the city grows. An estimated $5.8 million in additional funds is needed annually to ensure the long-term safety of residents and properties as strong winter storms become more frequent and intense.

Vote Yes to Making Sustainable Investments a Reality

In order to prepare San Mateo now, change will require new and dedicated funding sources to improve San Mateo’s stormwater infrastructure. This is why we support the Community Flood and Storm Protection Ballot Measure.

Coming to mailboxes in October, this measure will charge property owners a nominal monthly fee to fund long-term projects. The fees will cover an estimated 50% of the city’s investment needs over the next decade, reflecting a decision by measure leaders to balance infrastructure progress with the fiscal sensitivities of voters.

Importantly, passage of the measure will make it easier for our city to secure matching State and Federal funding to achieve 100% of our infrastructure needs. We urge you to support the Community Flood and Storm Water Protection Initiative as a down payment on protecting lives and property as the risk of flooding continues to rise each year.

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