Public Awareness

Living With Dams

What would you do if your property were flooded? Are you prepared? Could life and property be affected by a nearby dam?
Visit for information on living with dams.


Public Safety Around Dams

The issue of public safety around dams is of importance to anyone directly or indirectly involved in recreational activities in rivers or streams. 
Each year, dozens of lives are lost at dams on U.S.. streams and rivers, many at low-head dams, also known as run-of-river dams or "drowning machines." These structures, generally less than 15 feet high, can create backflow currents and turbulence capable of producing disorientation, hypothermia, exhaustion, and brutal battering. The forces combine to create a practically inescapable circular trap for even the strongest, life jacket-clad swimmer.



Papers and Reports

Hidden Dangers and Public Safety at Low-Head Dams -  Bruce A. Tschantz and Kenneth R. Wright
Public Safety Around Dams - Canadian Dam Association
Evaluation of Public Safety at Run-of-River Dams - Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Videos and Animations

Dangers of Low-Head Dams - "Boat Indiana" animation
Low Head Dam Signage and Outreach - Examples throughout the U.S. and Canada - Indiana Silver Jackets Low Head Dams Committee
Over, Under, Gone - The Killer in Our Rivers - Indiana Silver Jackets Low Head Dams Committee
Hydraulic Jump Over a Weir - Little River Research and Design

Staying Safe Around Dams

Stay Afloat" Flood Awareness Campaign Children's Activity Book - Indiana Department of Homeland Security (includes a page on safety at low-head dams)
The Drowning Machine - Minnesota DNR
Dam Site Safety - Wisconsin Public Service


Guidelines for Public Safety Around Dams - Canadian Dam Association
Safety Signage at Hydropower Projects - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Evaluation of Public Safety at Run-of-River Dams - Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Low Head Dam Signage and Outreach - Indiana Silver Jackets Low Head Dams Committee
Nationwide Permit 53. Removal of Low-Head Dams - U.S.. Army Corps of Engineers
Frequently Asked Questions on Removal of Obsolete Dams  - U.S.. Environmental Protection Agency


American Whitewater Accident Database (Scroll down the page for the search menu.)

Safety at Dams in the News

Special thanks to our sustaining members