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National Dam Safety Program Publications

The National Dam Safety Program provides a variety of publications, including:

  • Research Needs Workshop Reports
  • Technical Manuals, Guides and Reports
  • Technical Advisories
  • Safety Series Fact Sheets
  • Response and Recovery (R&R) Dam Response Operations Matrices
  • Dam Safety & Risk MAP/Flood Mapping Studies Fact Sheet Series
  • DSS-WISE Fact Sheets
  • FEMA P-1015, Technical Manual: Overtopping Protection for Dams (ZIP, 410MB)

Search for documents below, or view our pages on Federal GuidelinesNational Dam Safety Program InformationResources for the General Public, or Resources for States.

You can order publications from the FEMA Distribution Center.

Search for Dam Safety Publications

Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety Risk Management (FEMA Publication No. P-1025)

This document provides guidelines for implementing risk-informed decision making in a dam safety program. The intended audience is Federal agencies that own or regulate dams. The guidelines could also be applied to non-federally owned or regulated dams that can impact federally owned or regulated facilities; however, this would require the cooperation and involvement of the non-Federal dam owner.

Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety: Glossary of Terms (FEMA P-148)

This glossary provides a common terminology for dam safety for use within and among federal agencies. The terms are generic and applicable to all dams, regardless of size, owner, or location. The CD-ROM, FEMA 93CD, 2005, contains all of the Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety: FEMA 64; FEMA 65; FEMA 93; FEMA 94; FEMA 148; and FEMA 333.44.



Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety (FEMA Publication No. P-93)

These guidelines encourage strict safety standards in the practices and procedures employed by Federal agencies or required of dam owners regulated by the Federal agencies. The guidelines provide the most complete and authoritative statement available of the desired management practices for promoting dam safety and the welfare of the public. The guidelines apply to Federal practices for dams with a direct federal interest; the guidelines do not attempt to establish technical standards and are not intended to supplant or conflict with state or local government responsibilities for the safety of dams under their jurisdiction.

Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety: Earthquake Analyses and Design of Dams (FEMA Publication No. P-65)

These guidelines provide the basic framework for the earthquake design and evaluation of dams. The general philosophy and principles for each part of the framework are described in sufficient detail to achieve a reasonable degree of uniform application among the federal agencies involved in the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and regulation of dams. This document includes general guidelines for specifying design earthquake loadings (for design or safety evaluation) and for performing seismic analyses for the design of new dams (for evaluating the safety of existing dams or modifying existing dams). The guidelines are presented in four parts: selection of design or safety evaluation for earthquakes; characterization of ground motions; seismic analyses of the dams and foundations; and evaluation of structural adequacy for earthquake loading. The CD-ROM, FEMA 93CD, 2005, contains all of the Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety: FEMA 64; FEMA 65; FEMA 93; FEMA 94; FEMA 148; and FEMA 333.

Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety: Selecting and Accommodating Inflow Design Floods for Dams (FEMA Publication No. P-94)

These guidelines provide thorough and consistent procedures for selecting and accommodating inflow design floods (IDFs), the flood flow above which the incremental increase in water surface elevation downstream due to the failure of a dam or other water retaining structure no longer presents an unacceptable additional downstream threat. These guidelines are not intended to provide a complete manual of all procedures for estimating IDFs; the selection of procedures is dependent upon available hydrologic data and individual watershed characteristics.

GIS Tools in Rebuilding a State Dam Safety Program | Jeannie Eidson and Kelsy Grogan

2020 NDSP Technical Seminar Presentation

GIS Tools in Rebuilding a State Dam Safety Program | Jeannie Eidson and Kelsy Grogan

Dam Safety Considerations For Earth Dams Following Significant Reservoir Drawdown | James Olsen & Joels Malama

2020 NDSP Technical Seminar Presentation
Dam Safety Considerations For Earth Dams Following Significant Reservoir Drawdown | James Olsen & Joels Malama

National Dam Safety Program - Strategic Plan 2012-2016 (FEMA P-916)

This Strategic Plan for the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP) for Fiscal Years (FY) 2012 through 2016 was developed on behalf of the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as required by the Dam Safety Act of 2006 (33 U.S. Code [U.S.C.] § 467 et seq., as amended).

National Dam Safety Program - Year in Review 2017

For 30 years, the Federal government has used the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP) to protect Americans from dam failure. The NDSP is a partnership of the States, Federal agencies, and other stakeholders that encourages and promotes the establishment and maintenance of effective Federal and state dam safety programs to reduce the risks to human life, property, and the environment from dam related hazards.

Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience | Lewis Link

2020 NDSP Technical Seminar Presentation
Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience | Lewis Link

Dam Safety Awareness

Increased awareness of dams and the risks they pose is an important part of dam risk management. Hazards from dams can be triggered by severe weather events, improper operation of the dam, or regular or emergency releases of water downstream.

Risk Communication for Dams in Risk MAP

Risk communication can help increase knowledge, understanding, and awareness of dams and the risks they pose. While dams can serve many purposes, such as flood risk reduction, hydropower generation, water supply, and recreation, many people in communities near dams are unprepared to deal with the impacts of a dam failure or dam-related flooding. It is important to be aware that risk can come from many modes of failure, or even from conditions in which the dam has not failed at all.

Dam Considerations in Flood Mapping Studies

Whether for flood control, water supply, or recreation, dams play an important role in serving the community and managing a natural resource, but there are hazards and risks to consider when large volumes of water are stored. Sharing information about dams during a flood mapping study can help stakeholders obtain a more complete picture of the risks within a floodplain.

Considering the Residual Risk from Dams in Flood Risk Products

During a flood mapping project, to properly assess and communicate a complete view of the flood risk both upstream and downstream of a dam, it is critical to consider the effects of dams and their associated residual risk. Many large reservoirs are operated with outflow controls that include gates to regulate the flow through outlet structures. Dam outlet control structures can affect flow rates downstream regardless of the dam’s purpose. Even when dams perform as they are designed, there will always be a level of flood risk remaining, or “residual risk.”

South Carolina Response and Recovery Dam Response Operations Matrix

FEMA DR-4286C | This Response and Recovery (R&R) Dam Response Operations Matrix was primarily developed for stakeholder outreach, and as a reference for emergency or disaster dam-related response or recovery operations in South Carolina.

North Carolina Response and Recovery Dam Response Operations Matrix

FEMA DR-4285 | This Response and Recovery (R&R) Dam Response Operations Matrix was primarily developed for stakeholder outreach, and as a reference for emergency or disaster dam-related response or recovery operations in North Carolina.

Dam Safety Technical Advisory #1: Risk Reduction Measures for Dams

The purpose of this Technical Advisory is to help people and organizations better understand the various measures that can be taken to reduce the risks from and improve resilience to dam failure. The intended audience includes federal, state, and local officials; tribal leaders; county and city engineers, planners, and emergency managers; dam owners and operators; building and property owners near or potentially affected by a dam failure; and other interested stakeholders.

Dam Safety Technical Advisory #2: Risk Exposure and Residual Risk Related to Dams

The purpose of this Technical Advisory is to help all stakeholders better understand risk exposure, residual risk, and the potential contributing factors to risk related to living and working near a dam or within a dam inundation zone. The information is intended to help stakeholders improve emergency planning and community resilience based on informed decision making. The intended audience includes federal, state and local officials; tribal leaders; county and city planners and emergency managers; dam owners and operators; building and property owners near or potentially affected by a dam failure; and other interested stakeholders and the general public.

Dam Safety Technical Advisory #3: Dam Awareness

The purpose of this Technical Advisory is to help increase the general understanding, knowledge, and awareness of dams to enable improved planning and community resilience, among other benefits. The target audience includes emergency managers and various planners; federal, state, and local officials; tribal leaders; city and county engineers and officials; dam owners and operators; building and property owners, including homeowners associations; stakeholders who live near or downstream of dams or are affected by them; and the general public.

The National Dam Safety Program Research Needs Workshop: Seepage through Embankment Dams (FEMA 535)

This workshop report documents expert consideration of (1) potential seepage problems and solutions associated with penetrations through embankment dams, e.g., outlet works conduits; (2) filter design criteria and observed performance; (3) inspection of dams for detection of seepage problems, failure modes associated with seepage and internal erosion, and analysis of risks associated with seepage and internal erosion; (4) investigation of seepage problems and concerns at dams, including the use of geophysical techniques, and instrumentation and measurements for evaluation of seepage performance; (5) remediation of seepage problems through cutoff, reduction of flow, and collection and control of seepage, including the use of geosynthetics; and (6) impacts of the aging of seepage control and collection system components on seepage performance.

Last updated January 5, 2021