ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox

Risk Management

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"Risk management encompasses activities related to making risk-informed decisions, prioritizing evaluations of risk, prioritizing risk reduction activities, and making program decisions associated with managing a portfolio of facilities. Risk management processes vary with respect to an organization’s dam safety governance. Risk management is greatly facilitated and enhanced by having the knowledge base supplied by the risk analyses and risk assessment inputs for the dams as described above. Such knowledge allows a logical and consistent basis for substantiating and prioritizing risk reduction activities and/or making program decisions associated with managing a portfolio of facilities. Risk management, because it uses the findings from a risk assessment/risk evaluation process, includes considering the environmental, social, cultural, ethical, political, and legal factors. Risk management should be regarded as an ongoing and iterative process that needs to adapt to new information."[1]

"The primary goal of risk management is to implement actions to either: accept, further monitor or evaluate, control, or reduce risk, while considering the cost and benefits of any actions taken. When reducing risk either at a single dam or within a portfolio of dams, actions should be taken as quickly and as efficiently as possible, recognizing that there will likely be limits on available funding. Consideration should be given to how much risks are reduced compared with the costs necessary to achieve risk reduction. Generally, the priorities will be to address the dams with the highest perceived risk first, assuming there is confidence in the risk estimates; however, if the cost of reducing risk at the highest risk dam is disproportional to the risk reduction achieved, it may be appropriate to consider risk reduction activities at other dams first."[1]

Risk Reduction Measures

Best Practices Resources

Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety Risk Management (FEMA P-1025), FEMA

Dam and Levee Safety: Using Risk-Informed Decision Making, USACE


Revision ID: 7450
Revision Date: 07/25/2023