Reclamation's Biweekly Newsletter
August 24, 2018
The Bureau of Reclamation maintains an active dam safety program to ensure its dams do not present an unreasonable risk to people, property or the environment. Reclamation manages 492 dams throughout the 17 Western United States. The Dam Safety Program has identified 363 dams at 242 individual facilities which would like cause loss of life if they were to fail. These are the core of Reclamation's Dam Safety Program.
Reclamation uses risk analysis and risk assessment to make informed dam safety decisions. Reclamation manages risk at each of its facilities through a variety of recurring activities, including:
- Instrumentation monitoring and evaluation
- Regular visual monitoring and inspection of the facilities
- Emergency action planning and exercises with downstream emergency management officials
- Periodic and comprehensive reviews of the facility design, construction performance, and risk analysis
Reclamation utilizes the "Interim Dam Safety Public Protection Guidelines, August 2011" as a tool to assess the potential need for risk reduction modifications at our facilities; these are consistent with guidelines from FEMA, "Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety Risk Management 2015."
In addition to Reclamation, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation is responsible for oversight and coordination of Department of the Interior Dam Safety programs and activities. These include coordination of independent review panel assessments of Interior bureau dam safety programs, and chairing the Interior working group on dam safety and security.
The Dam Safety Program annual budget is approximately $88 million. Reclamation allocates about $20 million to the recurring risk management activities, $67 million to activities related to dam safety modifications, and the remaining $1 million to Department of the Interior dam safety coordination and oversight activities.
To learn more about dam safety activities at Reclamation, please visit https://www.usbr.gov/ssle/damsafety/.