ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox

Purposes of Dams

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Dams serve a variety of purposes including water storage, flood protection, power generation, tailings storage, or recreation. The design of a dam is heavily influenced by its intended purpose; however, the purpose and hazard classification of a dam can change over the course of its design life due to changing water needs, and changes in the surrounding community or in site conditions. No matter the purpose of a dam, safety to the public is the number one priority over any potential benefits. Common purposes for which dams are constructed include the following:

Snowmelt lakes.

(Image Source: Wikimedia)

Best Practices Resources

Hydrologic Engineering Requirements for Reservoirs (EM 1110-2-1420), USACE

Revision ID: 7637
Revision Date: 08/16/2023