May 31st is nationally known as Dam Safety Awareness Day and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District stresses the importance of knowing, not just the benefits of dams, but also the risks of living near dams. We strive to provide the dam safety community, as well as the public, a better understanding of our efforts to reduce dam risk and promote dam safety through awareness, investment and resources to support critical infrastructure.
In order to ensure the integrity of our 18 dams, our robust Dam Safety Program conducts daily, annual, and five-year inspections. Also, we perform dewatering inspection of the outlet channels every five to 10 years depending on use of the structure to document performance.
Additionally, our engineers and lake project staff are trained annually incorporating lessons learned from across the globe to improve best practices. We lead scenario planning dam safety tabletop exercises with upstream and downstream communities and include local emergency managers, their local emergency response partners, owners of critical infrastructure and the National Weather Service. Together, we test emergency preparedness plans to understand how all the emergency plans will work together. This exercise is conducted every four years at all our 18 dams in a four-state area.
Our Dam Safety Program uses a risk-informed approach to manage its portfolio dams, with public safety the number one priority. This robust risk-informed approach is a best practice adopted to develop balanced and informed assessments of operations and maintenance needs at our dams to prioritize and justify investments.
USACE operates and maintains approximately 740 dams and associated structures nationwide and in Puerto Rico that provide significant, multiple benefits to the nation—its people, businesses, critical infrastructure and the environment. These benefits include flood risk management, navigation, water supply, hydropower, environmental stewardship, fish and wildlife conservation and recreation.
To learn more about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District’s Dam Safety Program watch our video overview at https://youtu.be/qPqimCklK_g.