New Dam Monitoring Tool will soon be Available to Watershed Project Sponsors
DamWatch® is a new dam monitoring tool that will soon be available for watershed project sponsors and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to monitor flood control dams.
Local watershed project sponsors have constructed 11,800 flood control dams across the Nation with NRCS assistance.
As these dams age and homes, businesses, and highways are constructed downstream, it becomes increasingly important to use all possible means to monitor and manage the dams to ensure they function as they were designed and that they remain safe.
To assist project sponsors in this monitoring effort NRCS has entered into an agreement with USEngineering Solutions Corporation (USES) to provide a web-based monitoring tool named DamWatch for NRCS-assisted project dams. This tool will provide real-time monitoring of potential threats to dam safety including rainfall events and seismic activity.
DamWatch alerts essential personnel via electronic medium such as email, text message, or pager when dams are experiencing a high rainfall or earthquake event. This allows for resources to be allocated at the right time and place.
DamWatch also provides a "one-stop" source for critical documents, databases, and geospatial information through an interactive Web interface. This will allow NRCS and watershed project sponsors to more efficiently manage and access important project dam information such as as-built plans, operation and maintenance agreements, emergency action plans, inspection reports, photos, videos, assessment reports, etc. on a DamWatch Web site.
NRCS is currently loading information about dams into the DamWatch system. Project sponsors may be asked to assist in providing information such as operation and maintenance agreements, inspection reports, and emergency action plans. NRCS plans to activate DamWatch in late fiscal year 2013.
DamWatch can be an effective and important tool for project sponsors to utilize in managing their watershed projects. Watershed project sponsors can contact NRCS to learn more about DamWatch, how they can become involved in the project, and how they can utilize DamWatch to better monitor and manage their dams.
Although NRCS personnel may elect to receive alerts this does not change the roles and responsibilities of the sponsors or NRCS. The sponsor is still the responsible party for monitoring the dams, performing maintenance, and notifying authorities during an emergency situation. NRCS may be available to provide assistance upon request from the sponsor.