ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox

Site Access

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To protect sites and individuals, signage, gates, and other safety measures are employed.

(Image Source: Wikimedia)

"Project security is a matter of concern at all major dams. This includes preventing structural damage by vandals or saboteurs and unauthorized operation of outlet or spillway gates. In most cases, restricting public access is essential, and in some instances armed guards may be necessary."[1]

"Public safety is of paramount importance at all dams and reservoirs. Specifically, public safety on the reservoir, in areas adjacent to the reservoir, and below the dam should be considered, particularly in recreational areas. Safety measures should include identification of high watermarks to indicate past or probable reservoir levels and streamflows, posting of safety instructions at highly visible and key locations, and providing audible safety warnings upstream of and below outlets as appropriate."[1]

Furthermore, site access must be maintained for proper operation, maintenance and emergency intervention and response. Access to the dam and its appurtenances during floods and other unusual events should be taken into consideration by the dam owner.

Best Practices Resources

Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety (FEMA P-93), FEMA


Revision ID: 7327
Revision Date: 07/19/2023