The Association of Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) report, Success and Challenges: National Dam Safety Programme 2002, highlights achievements realised as a result of the US National Dam Safety Programme Act of 1996.

Administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Dam Safety Program has fostered many significant improvements in state dam safety programmes and established unprecedented co-operation between state and federal dam safety programs, according to ASDSO.

The report details improvements in state dam safety programs over the past five years, including the increase in the number of dam safety inspections and more dam owners preparing emergency action plans.

Despite these successes, more needs to be done to increase the safety of dams in the US said ASDSO. Among the most pressing needs noted in the report include improving dam failure flood inundation maps for access areas below dams and funding low interest loans for dam repairs.

The report also says there is a pressing need to improve dam security, a challenge which calls for an urgent response from state and federal leaders, as dams have been the focus of terrorist threats. As states shoulder the responsibility for regulating the safety of approximately 95% of US dams, ASDSO recommends that they allocate funds from FEMA’s First Responder Initiative Grant Programme for improvements to dam security.