Dam Safety

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Common Problems at Dams

Having a dam can provide many benefits, including irrigation, water for livestock, recreation, flood control, and erosion control. Every dam owner should understand the basic components of their dam, and its function. Below is a diagram of a typical earthen dam in Nebraska with the major components labeled.

diagram of dam with labels


Dams may provide owners with many benefits, but with these benefits comes risk. To reduce the risk of failure to your dam, regular maintenance is required. Most dams in Nebraska are earthen embankments, meaning the only thing holding back the water is how well the soil stays together. Almost all of the problems you will find are in some way related to keeping that soil in place. Below is a diagram of common problems found on dams in Nebraska.

diagram of a flawed dam with labels showing what is flawed


Common Problems at Dams and How to Resolve Them

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