Annually on May 31st, federal, state and local stakeholders commemorate “National Dam Safety Awareness Day.” This year marked the 132nd anniversary of the 1889 South Fork Dam failure near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which resulted in the loss of more than 2,200 lives and was the worst dam failure in the history of the United States. The lessons learned from this, and events similar to South Fork Dam failure, reaffirm our commitment to protect life, property, lifelines, and the environment by ensuring that all dams are designed, constructed, regulated, operated, and maintained safely and effectively.
National Dam Safety Awareness Day was created to promote individual and community responsibility for dam safety. It fosters a better understanding of our efforts to communicate about dam safety and promote flood risk awareness.
Flood risk management touches on many programs within U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), so it is imperative that as a community of practice we recognize a common purpose and seek out opportunities to work together to achieve maximum flood risk reduction benefits and increase transparency about dam risk.
In the coming months the USACE Dam Safety program will be engaging with stakeholders about the National Inventory of Dams (NID) update scheduled for November 2021. This update will increase the public’s accessibility of USACE inundation maps to raise awareness in areas that are potentially in harm’s way. This information can help safety professionals, emergency managers, and communities understand dam related flood risks and make informed decisions about their emergency preparedness.
Dam safety is a shared responsibility. We want to encourage everyone to know their risk (and benefits), know their role, and act. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with communities and key stakeholders to improve preparedness and response.
For more information about the USACE Dam Safety Program visit https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Dam-Safety-Program/.
Want to Learn More About Dam and Levee Safety?
The Risk Management Center (RMC) was established in 2009 and is a center of expertise under the Institute for Water Resources (IWR) for USACE. RMC has a wide variety of training courses for dam and levee safety activities within the broader context of risk management that are targeted towards all audiences. Their Dam and Levee Safety training website contains all the fundamental, intermediate, and advanced dam and levee safety training for USACE-internal audiences, sponsors, stakeholders, public and private dam and levee safety professionals, other Federal agencies, and the public. The website contains the presentations, exercises, and video recordings of each training course. If you have any questions about dam or levee safety training please email RMCtraining@usace.army.mil
For more information on Risk Management Center Training: https://www.rmc.usace.army.mil/