ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox

On-Demand Webinar: The History of Dam Safety Governance in the US Including Risk Analysis

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Association of State Dam Safety Officials, 2022

This webinar will review the history of dam safety governance development in the US from 1876 to present day. The governance development timeline will place key failures and incidents into perspective and show how such events triggered state and federal laws and the development of risk analysis methods and best practices that form a key cornerstone of dam safety practice in the US today. A key discussion during the webinar will be the concentration of dam failures that occurred in the 1970’s that led to the development of federal guidelines for dam safety, as well as the founding of ASDSO. Key failures, including Lower San Fernando Dam, Teton Dam, and Kelly Barnes Lake Dam, which resulted in almost 600 fatalities and over $1B in damages, will be discussed.

The origins of risk analysis related to dams and dam safety trace back to the mid-1960’s. The initial vision for risk that was presented as part of the 2nd Terzaghi lecture (delivered by Arthur Casagrande in 1965) will start our exploration of the risk analysis and risk assessment timeline embedded within the overall US dam safety governance system. The provision for risk analysis that was embedded within the first federal guidelines for dam safety and the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act of 1978 (PL 95-578) will be discussed, along with how risk analyses emerged within various federal agencies (USBR, USACE, TVA, and the FERC) and the expanding role of risk within state dam safety programs.

Key Take-aways:

  1. Key Failures and Incidents timeline.
  2. Dam Safety Governance timeline.
  3. Factors leading to the formation of ASDSO and USSD.
  4. Risk analysis and assessment timeline.
  5. The risk analysis pioneers (Casagrande, Whitman, USBR).

Access Training Here

Speaker(s): Keith Ferguson

Revision ID: 2338
Revision Date: 08/19/2022