Resources by Topic

Resources by Topic: Surveillance and Monitoring of Dam Performance


Monitoring dam performance is a critical element in producing and maintaining a safe dam. Monitoring programs typically consist of; surveillance or visual observation; instrumentation; data collection; data evaluation, presentation and management; and decisions/response based on results. Surveillance and Monitoring programs on dams provide information for evaluating the dam’s performance with respect to design intent and expected behavior, monitoring for changes that could affect the safe performance of the dam, to assist in investigations and evaluations of abnormal or degrading dam performance and determining if maintenance or remedial action is necessary.


To be proficient in this area one needs to understand and/or have experience in the following areas:

  • Basic Behavior Monitoring for Dams
  • Assessment of Surveillance and Monitoring Requirements
  • Instrument Data Interpretation
  • Operation, use and maintenance of instrumentation
  • Emerging technology
  • Design and installation of instrumentation
  • Dam performance monitoring

Classroom and Web-Based Training

ASDSO Technical Seminars: Classroom
  • Structural Behavior Monitoring (advanced)
Self-Directed Training: Interagency Committee on Dam Safety
  • Training Aids for Dam Safety

Guidelines and Suggested References

Some of the most highly recommended resources in this area are as listed below. (See also: TADS materials, listed above under "Self-directed Training.") For additional resources, search the ASDSO Bibliography. Suggested search terms: instrumentation, monitoring

American Society of Civil Engineers

  • ASCE Task Committee on Instrumentation and Monitoring Dam Performance. Guidelines for Instrumentation and Measurements for Monitoring Dam Performance, 2000. 712 pp. (ASCE bookstore link)

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Low Hazard Dams Standing Operating Procedures, 2008, 399 pp.


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