Along with the ingenuity of bypass channels along the Sacramento River, more than a 100 years ago Sacramentans essentially flood-proofed their homes by building their first floors one story above the ground. In fact, the city of Sacramento literally raised the ground level of town by about 12 feet in order to escape frequent flooding." In contrast, the San Joaquin River's tiny flood conveyance capacity was overwhelmed in 1997 because of modern era assumptions involving concrete and construction. Poorly situated floodplain communities were surprised when river levees overtopped or broke; it had been long assumed that upstream reservoirs and dams could contain all floods.
However, the failure of flood control to fully contain floods still represents an historic opportunity to embrace a flood management effort that provides greater reliability, greater hazard reductions and, in the long run, lower costs than simply