Risk Analysis in Dam Safety Programs

by William S. Bivins, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water for Resource Development


There are about 68,000 dams in the Nation. About 95 percent of the dams are nonfederal; the balance are owned by various agencies of the federal government. Over 30 percent of the high hazard nonfederal dams were judged to be unsafe with 5 percent warranting emergency action. The vast number of dams warranting attention requires some type of decision process to maximize the return on the dollars expended for the safety efforts. Many people have urged the federal agencies to take the lead in developing and applying risk-based techniques to the decision processes involved in rehabilitating dams. Although activity to achieve this goal began several years ago, progress toward applying risk methodologies has been exceptionally slow. The history of the development and application of risk assessment in the dam safety arena is identified.

Subject Headings: Risk management | Dam safety | Federal government | Emergency management | Rehabilitation | Dams | Safety | History

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