Lessons Learned

Dozens of dams can fail or be in danger of failing during a single event (i.e. swarming failures). Dam owners and regulators need to prepare for these types of events.

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Early Warning Systems can provide real-time information on the health of a dam, conditions during incidents, and advanced warning to evacuate ahead of dam failure flooding.

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Earth and rockfill embankment dams must be stable under the full range of anticipated loading conditions.

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Embankment dams and levees are vulnerable to damage from wildlife intrusions and animal impacts.

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Emergency Action Plans can save lives and must be updated, understood, and practiced regularly to be effective.

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Extreme floods do occur.

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Floods can occur due to unusual or changing hydrologic conditions.

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Gates and other mechanical systems at dams need to be inspected and maintained.

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Hazardous hydraulic conditions, such as hydraulic rollers, can occur at dams of all sizes.

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High and significant hazard dams should be designed to pass an appropriate design flood. Dams constructed prior to the availability of extreme rainfall data should be assessed to make sure they have adequate spillway capacity.

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