Association of State Dam Safety Officials Urges Those Living Near Dams to Educate Themselves

Share Article

Information guides produced by state dam safety officials provide tips and information for policymakers, residents, real estate agents and others.

News Image
We all have an important role to play in creating a future where all dams are safe. These guides answer important questions about why people should care about dams and what they should do if they live near a dam.

To help inform people who live, work or play in areas near dams, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), announces the creation of two companion informational guides entitled Living With Dams: Know Your Risks and Living With Dams: Extreme Rainfall Events.

Dams provide important benefits—such as drinking water, recreation, hydropower and flood control—to populations in every state, but they also pose inherent risks. According to the National Inventory of Dams, there are nearly 88,000 regulated dams in the U.S., more than 11,000 of which are considered “high-hazard-potential” dams because they could cause loss of life downstream if they were to fail. Dam upkeep poses a unique challenge nationwide, as more than half of all U.S. dams are privately owned. Many owners, officials and other stakeholders are not aware that the owner is responsible for the safety of the dam, and financing maintenance, repairs and upgrades.

“We all have an important role to play in creating a future where all dams are safe. These guides answer important questions about why people should care about dams and what they should do if they live near a dam,” said Lori Spragens, ASDSO executive director. “We are providing this important information to state dam safety programs, emergency managers, local officials, real estate agents and others to share with their stakeholders and the public.”

The guides provide:

  •     An overview of the types of dams and the benefits they provide;
  •     An explanation of the potential risks associated with dams;
  •     Resources to help readers determine if they live in a dam failure inundation zone;
  •     Tips for preparing for, coping with, and recovering from a dam incident;
  •     Tips for staying safe near dams, such as being alert to changes in water levels and never fishing, boating or swimming immediately above or below a dam; and
  •     Understanding extreme rainfall events and their impact on dams.

“These guides contain information that can help save lives and minimize the trauma associated with a disaster,” said Spragens. “For example, members of the public can determine if they live in a dam failure flood inundation zone by contacting their local emergency management agency or the state dam safety program. These agencies can also help people who live near dams identify evacuation routes.”

ASDSO encourages the public to urge their policymakers to take measures to prevent catastrophic dam failures. While good planning and improved dam safety programs at all levels of government have dramatically reduced the loss of life resulting from dam failures in recent years, ongoing attention and investment are necessary to protect lives and property, and to preserve the valuable benefits that dams provide. State and federal policymakers can increase the safety of dams by providing strong laws and resources to carry out safety programs.

For copies of the Living With Dams guide, or more information regarding the safety and security of the nation’s 88,000+ dams, contact ASDSO at info@damsafety.org. The series is also available online at http://www.livingneardams.org.

Thanks go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Dam Safety Program for providing seed money for the first guide.

###

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) is a national, non-profit organization founded in 1984 and dedicated to improving dam safety through research, education and communication.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Lori Spragens
ASDSO
+1 855-228-9732
Email >

Mark Ogden
ASDSO
855-228-9732
Email >
Visit website