ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox

Recreational Use Impacts

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The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which includes Lake Powell and vicinity, is an example of a reservoir which was transformed into a popular recreational area for locals and tourists alike.

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

“Recreational use of the reservoirs may extend throughout the entire year. Under most circumstances, the optimum recreational use of reservoirs would require that the reservoir levels be at or near full conservation pool during the recreational season”. [1]

“In addition to the seasonal regulation of reservoir levels for recreation, regulation of project outflows may encompass requirements for specific regulation criteria to enhance the use of the rivers downstream from the projects, as well as to ensure the safety of the general public… During the park recreation season, streamflows are regulated to ensure the safety of the public who may be engaged in water related activities, including boating, swimming, fishing, rafting, and river drifting. Also, the aesthetics of the rivers may be enhanced by augmenting streamflows during the low-water period. Water requirements for maintaining or enhancing the recreational use of rivers are usually much smaller than other major project functional uses… Of special importance is minimizing any danger that might result from changing conditions of outflows which would cause unexpected rise or fall in river levels”. [1]

See also: Public Safety

Best Practices Resources

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


Revision ID: 7368
Revision Date: 07/21/2023