Dams play a vital role in the nation’s overall infrastructure. They contribute to the economic development of the United States and to the social welfare of the American public. Dam infrastructure can be affected by natural hazards, man-made threats, as well as an imbalance between resources invested and a dam’s age.
The National Dam Safety Program is a partnership of states, federal agencies and other stakeholders to encourage and promote the establishment and maintenance of effective federal and state dam safety programs to reduce the risk to human life, property, and the environment from dam related hazards.
National Dam Safety Awareness Day on May 31, 2021 seeks to encourage and promote individual and community responsibility and best practices for dam safety, as well as what steps can be taken to prevent catastrophic dam failures. Another goal is to promote the benefits dams offer to communities.
National Dam Safety Program
Information Needs for Dam Safety
Under FEMA’s leadership, state assistance funds have enabled all participating states to better their programs through increased inspections, emergency action planning and the purchase of needed equipment.
The Interagency Committee on Dam Safety (ICODS) has prepared and approved the guidelines for federal agency dam owners and regulators. These guidelines may also be used by non-federal dam owners, regulators and operators.
Grant assistance to states provides vital support for the improvement of state dam safety programs that regulate most of the 94,000 dams in the United States.
The Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams Grant Program provides technical, planning, design, and construction assistance in the form of grants for rehabilitation of eligible high hazard potential dams.
The Interagency Committee on Dam Safety (ICODS) was founded in 1980 to encourage the establishment and maintenance of effective federal programs, policies and guidelines to enhance dam safety and security. The committee serves as the permanent forum for the coordination of federal activities in dam safety and security. FEMA also chairs this committee.
The National Dam Safety Review Board advises FEMA’s Administrator in setting national dam safety priorities and considers the effects of national policy issues affecting dam safety. Review Board members include FEMA, the Chair of the Board and representatives from four federal agencies that serve on ICODS, five state dam safety officials, and one member from the private sector.
Dam Safety Training Program
FEMA has expanded existing training programs and initiated new training programs to enhance the sharing of expertise between the federal and state sectors.
Dam Safety Collaborative Technical Assistance
FEMA is offering a Collaborative Technical Assistance series to help communities at risk of dam-related flooding better understand their risk and the potential consequences of dam-related emergencies.
Publications & Resources
A variety of publications to include federal guidelines, technical manuals and fact sheets.
Featured Resource: DSS-WISE™ Lite Case Studies - A State Perspective, a summary of how states are using this web-based, automated two-dimensional dam-break flood modeling and mapping capability as a dam risk management tool.
National Inventory of Dams
The National Inventory of Dams (NID) is now open to the public. The NID was populated using the 116th Congressional District Information. State and federal dam regulators provided their data for inclusion in the database.