Resources for Dam Owners and Operators

Resources for Dam Owners and Operators

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Being a Responsible Dam Owner

One of the most important components of dam safety is owner education. As a dam owner, you are legally responsible to maintain your dam in a safe manner, and you could be found liable should your structure fail and cause loss of life or damage to the property of others. 

A responsible owner must be aware of:

  • State and/or federal dam laws and regulations;
  • Proper operation and maintenance practices;
  • Rehabilitation needs;
  • Emergency action planning, and;
  • How to hire qualified dam engineers.

Through education, owners can take steps to:

  • Reduce the likelihood of incidents and failures;
  • Reduce their own liability;
  • Improve the safety of dams;
  • Help to reduce the risk to communities

This site serves as a tool to make it easy to access guidance information and understand what each step entails. 

Dam Owner Academy — ASDSO's Dam Owner Education Video Series

Dam-Owner-Academy-Dams-101-YouTube.pngThe Dam Owner Academy is a series of videos to educate and inform owners on all aspects of operating and maintaining a dam safely. The videos concisely present the critical basics of owner responsibilities and are available as a free resource for owners and those conducting owner outreach programs. Over the next few years, ASDSO will release additional videos and tools as part of the Dam Owner Academy. Many of the videos will correspond with ASDSO's dam owner fact sheets (below). For future videos, make sure to subscribe to ASDSO's Youtube Channel and this webpage.

Dam Owner Academy Videos (Full Playlist):

Find Workshops, Fact Sheets, and Guidance

Attend a Dam Owner Educational Workshop

From time-to-time, ASDSO partners with State Dam Safety Programs to conduct one-day workshops for dam owners. Click here to learn more.

Watch ASDSO's Educational Webinars 

ASDSO's webinar Introduction to Inspecting Dams for Owners and Operators (2013) is available for free as part of its dam owner education program.
Go to to find a list of all ASDSO On-Demand Webinars. Many of the webinars address dam owner needs.

ASDSO_RGB_Bucky_Color.pngView Dam Ownership Fact Sheets

ASDSO maintains a booklet of fact sheets that provides guidance on specific issues many dam owners face.

Click the topics listed below to download individual fact sheets or view the information on a webpage. You can download the full Dam Ownership Fact Sheet Booklet here.

PLEASE NOTE: These fact sheets have replaced ASDSO's tri-fold dam owner brochures.

  1. Your state dam safety program will be aware of the specific requirements and regulations for your dam and can put you in contact with qualified personnel to help you manage the needs of your dam. Locate Your State Dam Safety Program Office 
  2. Consider joining the Association of State Dam Safety Officials to take full advantage of training, resources, a collaborative community, and industry access for managing your dam.

External Resources

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides extensive information on dam ownership in the United States, federal guidelines for dam safety, and many other resources.
These resources are accessible at the FEMA website by navigating to their dam safety web portal at

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers dams to be one of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors that form the core of the DHS security mission.
The DHS website provides resources regarding maintaining site security at dams and offers many online training courses for dam owners and professionals. The resources can be accessed at

In support of conservation efforts across the nation, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with landowners in the disciplines of hydrology and hydraulics.  Tools and models here, as well as significant technical information, can be accessed at the NRCS website.  Training material is also available.  In each of the 50 states, NRCS has a hydraulic engineering contact person.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has an extensive dam portfolio it maintains across the nation. The USACE website has a large archive of engineering-focused publications and technical manuals, among many other resources.
The USACE dam safety program website is accessible by navigating to their dam safety portal at

... and many more ...