Construction & maintenance

To help prioritize safety, we provide information about dam construction and maintenance to owners, operators, and design engineers. We include important guidelines and required documents for the following areas:

  • Permitting
  • Project planning and approval
  • Design and construction
  • Operation and maintenance


Owners of dams that store at least 10 acre-feet of water are required by law to have a permit to construct and maintain their dams. Dams built without permits can be a risk to people and property.

Unpermitted dams

As funding and staffing allow, we proactively inspect unpermitted dams that pose hazards to downstream homeowners. These dams are identified from publicly available aerial photos; they appear large enough to require a permit but are not listed in our inventory of dams.

Project planning & approval

We provide information on the specific activities and actions involved in project planning and in the plan review and construction permit process:

Design & construction

We outline a rational engineering approach to address the majority of cases. Individual projects may pose unique problems that require specialized measures. Where engineers face such cases, it will be their responsibility to demonstrate that their approach satisfactorily addresses the pertinent engineering issues.

Within 30 days of completion of construction or modification of a dam, the project engineer needs to submit this form to us:

Operation & maintenance

We provide information to assist dam owners with their responsibilities.