Dams provide benefits to residents and businesses by mitigating flood impacts by containing stormwater, and reducing flood insurance premiums. Downstream areas of these dams are considered a minimal flood risk zone by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Dam failures are vary rare but can occur from different causes.
Failure from overtopping can occur when water flows over the top of an earthen embankment, resulting in erosion of the embankment. This is most often the result of inadequate spillway capacity, debris blockage, or embankment settlement.
Seepage occurs naturally on most dams, but defects can occur when earthen materials internally erode and progress to form voids in the dam.
Common embankment defects than can lead to a dam failure include excessive settlement, slope slides and instabilities, and cracking.
Common maintenance issues include vegetation maintenance, repair of concrete structures, maintaining spillway capacity, and instrumentation monitoring
The City of Dallas maintains dams at the highest standards to increase safety and minimize the risk of dam failures by meeting state dam safety laws and regulations as required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Below highlights some of the activities Dallas Water Utilities and Dallas Park & Recreation conduct to maintain safety standards.
Residents and businesses located near a dam and/or in the downstream areas of a dam should take the following actions to decrease risks.
Residing near dams is a potential risk; however, the City of Dallas encourages residents and businesses to consult with their insurance provider on whether they need flood insurance to protect themselves and their property.
Dallas residents benefit from the City's participation in the National Flood Insurance (NFIP) and the Community Rating System (CRS) to provide property owners with an opportunity to purchase flood insurance at a lower premium rate. The City of Dallas encourages residents to speak with their insurance provider for more details to prepare for unlikely flooding events.