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Dam Repair and Rehab Act Supported
February 22, 2007

The recent reintroduction of the Dam Rehabilitation and
Repair Act of 2007 (H.R. 1098), a bill that will create a federal funding program to repair the nation’s unsafe public dams, is being backed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), both members of the Dam Safety Coalition. Congressmen John Salazar (3rd District – Colo.) and Randy Kuhl (29th District – N.Y.) are reintroducing this important legislation to address the critical threat deteriorating dams pose to many communities throughout the country.

Dams are a vital part of our nation’s infrastructure—providing drinking water, flood protection, renewable hydroelectric power, navigation, irrigation and recreation—but, these daily benefits are also inextricably linked to the potential harmful consequences of a dam failure. In 2005, ASCE published the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, giving the condition of our nation’s
dams a grade of D, equal to the overall infrastructure grade. ASDSO, in its October 2003 report, The Cost of Rehabilitating Our Nation’s Dams, estimated that $10 billion would be needed to repair the most critical dams over the next 12 years. Also, state dam safety programs have identified more than 3,500 unsafe or deficient dams, many of which are susceptible to large flood events or earthquakes.

The number of unsafe dams will continue to increase until a funding source is created to repair them. If enacted, the Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act of 2007 would mandate: – Establishment of a program within the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund dam rehabilitation, repairs and removal; – Enactment of a public fund to award grants for assistance to publicly-owned deficient dams; and – Authorization of $200 million over 5 years to assist in the rehabilitation of deficient dams.

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