Public Safety

Is there a list of top high-hazard potential dams?

Due to security concerns, there isn’t a list of the top high-hazard potential dams made available to the public. However, information about the number of high-hazard potential dams and regulations for each state can be found using the state map. If you are concerned about the safety of living near a dam, please visit (ASDSO)

Is there a state by state list of deficient dams?

Due to security concerns, there is not a list available of deficient dams. You can see the condition assessment data in aggregate for each state using the state map page or by visiting the National Inventory of Dams. (ASDSO)

Do all dams pose a danger to those who swim, fish or boat near them?

While all dams are potentially dangerous, low-head dams are especially dangerous because the water around them often appears to be tranquil and inviting. Many drowning victims deliberately jump from or float over them without knowing the risks. Others are caught unaware, as low head dams are notoriously difficult to spot from upstream. The victims of these dams include many would-be rescuers and first responders who lost their lives trying to save others caught in the hydraulic current.  About 91% of drownings and other dam-related deaths occur in the period from April to August. Many people take advantage of the relatively high waters upstream from a dam to cool off or spend some time having fun with friends and family. Others take advantage of natural habitats near dams to fish.

Swimming, boating, and fishing account for the overwhelming majority of incidents at dams in the United States. According to information collected by Tony Bennett on behalf of the Canadian Dam Association and the International Commission on Large Dams, these activities and related activities account for over 75% of incidents at dams, with fishing alone accounting for over a quarter. (AR)