The failure of dams and the great destruction and loss of life failures often cause, is a matter of deep concern to the members of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO). ASDSO is a national non-profit organization serving state dam safety programs and the broader dam safety community, which includes federal dam safety professionals, dam owners and operators, engineering consultants, emergency managers, manufacturers, suppliers, academia, contractors, and others interested in improving dam safety.
A future where all dams are safe.
The Association of State Dam Safety Official’s mission is to advance and improve the safety of dams by supporting the dam safety community and state dam safety programs, raising awareness of dam safety issues, facilitating cooperation, providing a forum for the exchange of information, representing dam safety interests before governments, providing outreach programs, and creating a unified community of dam safety advocates.
What Does ASDSO Do to Improve Dam Safety?
- Support state dam safety programs
- Develop a cohesive and engaged community committed to the ASDSO mission.
- Advance and expand the technical expertise of dam and levee safety practitioners
- Promote innovative approaches to funding dam rehabilitation at the state and federal level
- Increase public awareness of the role of dams in society, the risks they present and the importance of dam safety and preparedness
- Advocate for laws, policies and government programs that serve to improve the safety of dams and reduce the risk to the public
- Strengthen and support a coordinated effort to improve the safety of levees
ASDSO was formed in 1983. The first conference, held in 1984 in Denver, attracted nearly 300 attendees and saw the ASDSO constitution and by-laws adopted by 34 states.
ASDSO’s origins date from November 1977, when 39 people were killed by the Kelly Barnes dam failure in Toccoa Falls, Georgia. President Jimmy Carter immediately issued an executive order directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to inspect dams nationwide. This 3-year 'Phase I' program revealed deficiencies in the great majority of non-federal dams.
On the heels of the Phase I inspections, two investigations - by the National Academy of Engineering and FEMA - revealed the inadequacy of state dam safety laws and programs. Their reports recommended an interstate forum on dam safety.
ASDSO began with organizational meetings in 1983 in Orlando, Florida and Lexington, Kentucky. By February 1985, 37 states and Puerto Rico had officially joined the association. ASDSO’s membership stood at 165: 90 associate (government employees) and 75 affiliate.
Today, ASDSO has more than 3,000 members representing state, federal and local governments; academia; dam owners; manufacturers and suppliers; consultants and others.