Contact: Reclamation Public Affairs

Reclamation's dams, water conveyance systems, and power generating facilities are integral components of our Nation's infrastructure; they deliver water and generate power for millions of customers in river basins throughout the 17 Western United States. One of Reclamation's highest priorities is to effectively manage and modernize this infrastructure for the next 100 years.

Reclamation manages 492 dams providing water for agricultural, municipal and industrial use, power generation, flood risk reduction, and recreation for millions of people.

Reclamation's dams, water conveyances, and power generating facilities are critical components of our Nation's aging infrastructure that must be maintained in order to preserve basic water and power services essential to our daily.

Safety of Dams

The safety and reliability of Reclamation dams continues to be one of Reclamation's highest priorities. The Dam Safety Program is critical to effectively manage risks to the downstream public, property, project, and natural resources. Approximately 50 percent of Reclamation's dams were built between 1900 and 1950, and approximately 90 percent of the dams were built before currently used state-of-the-art design and construction practices. The Dam Safety Program portfolio includes 363 high and significant hazard dams at 242 facilities. Reclamation monitors and evaluates dams to ensure they do not present unreasonable risks to the downstream public. Reclamation evaluates potential failure modes including consideration of seismic loadings (the dam's ability to withstand large earthquakes), failure modes associated with extreme flood events, and failure modes associated with changes in state-of-the-art design and construction practices since construction of the dams.

These risks are evaluated and managed through a comprehensive program of monitoring, examinations, engineering analyses and modifications of the facilities when warranted.

A strong Dam Safety Program is critical to ensure acceptable performance within Reclamation's inventory of dams and related facilities. Reclamation will undertake corrective actions expeditiously when unreasonable public risk is identified. The FY 2019 budget request includes $88.1 million for the Dam Safety Program.

Initiation of Safety of Dams Corrective Actions

Of the budget request of $88.1 million, $66.5 million includes modifications at the following locations. The following projects are currently planned to begin or continue in FY 2019:

  • Altus Dam, W.C. Austin Project, OK
  • Boca Dam, Washoe Project, CA
  • Box Butte Dam, Mirage Flats Project, NE
  • Bull Lake Dam, Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Project, WY
  • Folsom Dam, Central Valley Project, CA
  • Heart Butte Dam, Heart Butte Unit, ND
  • Howard Prairie Dam, Rogue River Basin Project, OR
  • Hyrum Dam, Hyrum Project, UT
  • Steinaker Dam, Central Utah Project, Vernal Unit, UT
In addition, pre-construction activities will be underway at other dams where Reclamation has determined a need to reduce safety risks, including:

  • B.F. Sisk Dam, Central Valley Project, CA
  • El Vado Dam, Middle Rio Grande Project, NM
  • Fresno Dam, Milk River Project, MT
  • Scoggins Dam, Tualatin Project, OR

Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams

The FY 2019 budget requests $20.3 million for completing safety evaluations of existing dams, including performance monitoring, examinations, analyses, field data investigations, technical studies, and development activities. Activities also include the investigation and assessment of public safety risks associated with dam safety issues to determine if corrective actions are warranted.

Department of the Interior Dam Safety Program

As the lead agency for the Department of the Interior's Dam Safety Program, the President's FY 2019 budget request includes $1.3 million to provide guidance to other Interior bureaus for their Dam Safety Programs.

Extraordinary Maintenance (XM) Activities

The proposed budget also includes $45.0 million in appropriations for various projects for Extraordinary Maintenance (XM) activities across Reclamation. This budget is central to mission objectives of operating and maintaining projects to ensure reliable delivery of water and power benefits. Reclamation's XM budget is part of its overall Asset Management Strategy that relies on condition assessments, condition/performance metrics, technological research and deployment, and strategic collaboration to continue to improve the management of its assets and deal with aging infrastructure challenges. Significant, additional XM items are directly funded by revenues, customers, or other Federal agencies (e.g., Bonneville Power Administration).

Public-Private Partnerships

Reclamation is actively participating in the Administration's efforts to identify potential water resource projects that are good candidates for Public-Private Partnerships ("P3"). Alternative financing, such as non-federal and private investment in federal projects, is an important tool that Reclamation is exploring to meet these growing infrastructure demands in the most timely and cost-effective manner. Through the infusion of private capital and management, P3's can potentially boost efficiency in the provision of public infrastructure and services for Reclamation's reserved works and those where operations and maintenance are transferred to other operators.

Additional information for P3's can be found on Reclamation's website at

Updated: Feb 13, 2018