Dam Safety: One Dam Thing After Another

Dam Safety: One Dam Thing After Another

October 2, 2018

Countless dams and reservoirs serve communities around the world by providing sources for potable water, irrigation, hydroelectricity, flood control, retention for waste materials, recreation, wetland creation, and/or some combination of these. In the U.S. alone, the number of dams exceeds 90,000 and, while useful, they present a very real hazard to downstream properties due to the large volumes of water stored upstream. Through a proper maintenance program, it is possible to extend the usefulness of a dam well beyond a typical 50-year design life. However, many of these older dams are in disrepair and contribute to our nation’s deteriorating infrastructure. The consequence of failure could be catastrophic.

In this MooreWISE brief, Andy Yung highlights the importance of dam safety, including financial responsibility, adaptation, and the importance of public awareness. 

"Dam safety is an integral part of preserving our nation’s infrastructure by preventing failure that can cause loss of life and significant damage to property. Identifying financial resources, ensuring that the dam’s ability to pass a design flood given changing downstream development conditions, updating EAPs on an annual basis, and communicating risk to downstream property owners will all serve to mitigate some of the risk associated with dam ownership."

Read Moore.