Three Questions Every Dam Owner Should Prepare For

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John Wolfhope

Water Resources Program Director

In light of recent flooding incidents at dams across the country, dam safety is now on the minds of many Americans. Many dam owners are receiving questions from constituents wondering about their nearby dams.

If your organization owns a dam, here are three questions you should be ready to answer:

  1. Is our dam safe?
  2. If a flood happened here, would our dam withstand it?
  3. What would we do if our dam had an emergency?

If you don’t know the answers, we can help. Here are the best practices we recommend:

  1. Have your dam regularly inspected by an engineer.
  2. Develop an Operations and Maintenance manual specific to your dam and follow it.
  3. Keep your emergency action plan (EAP) updated at least annually.
  4. Conduct EAP exercises to keep local emergency management officials and first responders informed.

Our team equips dam owners to keep their dams safe every day. To learn how we can help you, please contact me at or 512-617-3118.

John Wolfhope, P.E., is Water Resources Division Manager for Freese and Nichols. He is the current President of the United States Society on Dams and serves on the National Dam Safety Review Board. 

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John Wolfhope, PE, is Freese and Nichols’ Water Resources Program Director.