National Dam Safety Program Law and Legal Definition

The National Dam Safety Program (NDSP) is a U.S. program that aims to protect Americans from dam failure. The NDSP is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program is a partnership of the states, federal agencies, and other stakeholders to encourage individual and community responsibility for dam safety.

The NDSP was formally established by the Water Resources and Development Act of 1996. The NDSP:

1. Provides grant assistance to the states - Vital support for the improvement of the state dam safety programs that regulate most of the 79,500 dams in the U.S.

2. Conducts dam safety research - A program of technical and archival research.

3. Provides dam safety training for state dam safety staff and inspectors.

The Dam Safety and Security Act of 2002, signed into law on December 2, 2002, reauthorized the NDSP for 4 more years and added enhancements to the 1996 Act that are designed to safeguard dams against terrorist attacks.

The following is an example of a federal statute on National dam safety program:

33 USCS § 467f. National dam safety program

(a) In general. The Director, in consultation with ICODS and State dam safety agencies, and the Board shall establish and maintain, in accordance with this section, a coordinated national dam safety program. The Program shall--

(1) be administered by FEMA to achieve the objectives set forth in subsection (c);

(2) involve, to the extent appropriate, each Federal agency; and

(3) include:

(A) each of the components described in subsection (d);

(B) the strategic plan described in subsection (b); and

(C) assistance for State dam safety programs described in subsection (e).

(b) Duties. The Director shall prepare a strategic plan:

(1) to establish goals, priorities, performance measures, and target dates toward effectively administering this Act [33 USCS §§ 467 et seq.] in order to improve the safety of dams in the United States; and

(2) to the extent feasible, to establish cooperation and coordination with, and assistance to, interested governmental entities in all States.

(c) Objectives. The objectives of the Program are to:

(1) ensure that new and existing dams are safe through the development of technologically and economically feasible programs and procedures for national dam safety hazard reduction;

(2) encourage acceptable engineering policies and procedures to be used for dam site investigation, design, construction, operation and maintenance, and emergency preparedness;

(3) encourage the establishment and implementation of effective dam safety programs in each State based on State standards;

(4) develop and encourage public awareness projects to increase public acceptance and support of State dam safety programs;

(5) develop technical assistance materials for Federal and non-Federal dam safety programs;

(6) develop mechanisms with which to provide Federal technical assistance for dam safety to the non-Federal sector; and

(7) develop technical assistance materials, seminars, and guidelines to improve security for dams in the United States.

(d) Components.

(1) In general. The Program shall consist of--

(A) a Federal element and a non-Federal element; and

(B) leadership activity, technical assistance activity, and public awareness activity.

(2) Elements.

(A) Federal. The Federal element shall incorporate the activities and practices carried out by Federal agencies under section 7 [33 USCS § 467e] to implement the Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety.

(B) Non-Federal. The non-Federal element shall consist of--

(i) the activities and practices carried out by States, local governments, and the private sector to safely build, regulate, operate, and maintain dams; and

(ii) Federal activities that foster State efforts to develop and implement effective programs for the safety of dams.

(3) Functional activities.

(A) Leadership. The leadership activity shall be the responsibility of FEMA and shall be exercised by chairing the Board to coordinate national efforts to improve the safety of the dams in the United States.

(B) Technical assistance. The technical assistance activity shall consist of the transfer of knowledge and technical information among the Federal and non-Federal elements described in paragraph (2).

(C) Public awareness. The public awareness activity shall provide for the education of the public, including State and local officials, in the hazards of dam failure, methods of reducing the adverse consequences of dam failure, and related matters.