In a press release issued on Friday, May 27, five national organizations—the Deep Foundations Institute, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, the National Hydropower Association, the U.S. Society on Dams, and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)—called to attention the commemoration of National Dam Safety Awareness Day on Monday, May 31.
The release noted that there are more than 87,000 dams in the U.S.—every state has hundreds of dams; “like bridges, levees, roads, and airports, dams are an important part of this nation’s infrastructure.”
The press release continued: “Each year, this day is set aside to bring attention to the importance of safely and effectively managing dams. When designed, operated, and maintained properly, the benefits of dams are untold. When it rains, dams and good river management help to minimize the potential of flood damage. And during times of drought and intense heat, cold-water releases from dams provide flows and relief for fish populations.”
But the release noted that dams can pose a risk to communities if not designed, operated, and maintained properly. Citing the ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, it gave U.S. dams a grade of D and the number of dams determined to be unsafe or deficient currently stands at more than 4,000.
In conclusion, the five organizations stated: “We join together to commemorate National Dam Safety Awareness Day, remembering the lessons learned from past dam and levee failures, pushing for strong dam and levee safety programs, investing in America’s critical infrastructure and rededicating ourselves to the effective public-private partnerships that work to keep America’s dams and levees safe, operational, and resilient.”