ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox

Surveillance & Monitoring

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Dams are complex and often very large structures that require surveillance and monitoring in order to detect potential problems when they arise. Much of the structure cannot easily be observed by the naked eye, requiring specialized equipment and regularly scheduled inspections of less-accessible parts of the dam to ensure the safety of the dam is adequate. Some, but not all, of the main surveillance and monitoring efforts for dams track seepage patterns, movement of structures (earth and concrete), condition of outlet works and spillways, sediment deposition, and hydrologic data.

Critical Performance Metrics

Best Practices Resources

Pocket Safety Guide for Dams and Impoundments (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Engineering Guidelines for the Evaluation of Hydropower Projects: Chapter 14- Dam Safety Performance Monitoring Program (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)

Engineering Guidelines for the Evaluation of Hydropower Projects: Chapter 9- Instrumentation and Monitoring (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)

Instrumentation of Embankment Dams and Levees (EM 1110-2-1908) (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Instrumentation for Concrete Structures (EM 1110-2-4300) (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Design Standards No. 13: Embankment Dams (Ch. 11: Instrumentation and Monitoring) (Bureau of Reclamation)


On-Demand Webinar: Using Instrumentation for Dam Safety Monitoring


Revision ID: 4211
Revision Date: 11/18/2022