Oklahoma Water Resources Board the Water Agency

Dam Safety Quarterly
Dam Safety Quarterly

Free Low Hazard Dam Inspection

The OWRB's free low hazard dam inspection offer includes an on-site inspection, full inspection report, and a breach inundation map. Dam owners benefit from this program because state law requires them to complete a dam inspection every five years. Dam owners can also take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the inspection and maintenance techniques in order to prolong the life of their dam and manage their liabilities as dam owners. Contact Emma Moradi at (405) 530-8800 or emma.moradi@owrb.ok.gov for more information.

The OWRB coordinates the Oklahoma Dam Safety Program to ensure the safety of more than 4,700 dams in the state. The Program requires inspections for all jurisdictional size dams based on the presence of downstream development.

Hazard-Potential Classification Risk Involved with Dam Failure Inspection Frequency


probable loss of human life

annually, by a registered professional engineer


no probable loss of human life but can cause economic loss or disruption of lifeline facilities

every three years by a registered professional engineer


no probable loss of human life and low economic loss

every five years

In addition, owners of high hazard dams are required to have an emergency action plan (EAP) in place. Copies of the EAP must be submitted to local law enforcement agencies and emergency management officials. OWRB staff require submittal and subsequent approval of plans and specifications prior to all new dam construction and modifications to existing dams.

Interactive Dam Inventory Viewer

Past Workshops

Hydraulic Modeling

This December, the OWRB’s Dam Safety Program hosted a Hydraulic Modeling Workshop at our Oklahoma City office. Thirty eight people representing private sectors, state and local government agencies attended the class. In the morning section, Mr. Marc Johnson, PE, CFM from FTN Associates, Ltd introduced the participants to basics of 1D and 2D modeling along with their computational requirements, cost and complexities. Common engineering assumptions, labor and hardware requirements along with the accuracy of the outcomes for different models were also evaluated.

During the afternoon session led by Mr. Lee Beshoner, PE, CFM from FTN Associates, engineers were introduced to case studies using the new HEC-RAS 2D model. Required computational, involved assumptions along with the model’s preliminary results were reviewed. Throughout this section, participants shared their technical opinions and had the opportunity to contest the assumptions and outcomes of the model.

Emergency Action Planning for Dam Owners

OWRB conducted free Emergency Action Plan (EAP) workshops in Oklahoma City and Tulsa this July. Forty seven participants - including private dam owners, home owners associations, engineers, law and enforcement officers and emergency managers - gathered to benefit from lectures conducted by representatives from the National Weather Services (NWS), National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and OWRB. The workshops emphasized the importance of the EAP and its regular maintenance, defining emergency processes and related actions, roles of NRSC and NWS in improving or simplifying the emergency action plan, and reviewing OWRB rules and regulations. During the workshops, beneficial ideas were exchanged and means of communications were established amongst the attendees which could be advantageous in achieving the OWRB’s goal of keeping our state’s dams safe.

If you were unable to attend one of these workshops and would like a copy of the course materials, please email Emma Moradi or call (405)530-8800.

Hydrology for Dam Safety

Hydrology for Dam Safety Technical Seminar

In April, the OWRB hosted the Hydrology for Dam Safety technical seminar at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. Twenty-two engineers attended the seminar, including many from private firms as well as municipal, county, state, and federal agencies. The course, led by Dr. Baxter Vieux and Dr. Jonathan Looper, focused on the standard methods of hydrological calculations with an emphasis on applying them to dam safety studies and design. Topics included watershed characterization, developing the probable maximum storm hyetograph for a particular region, understanding appropriate applications for various routing and transform methods, and using HEC-HMS computer modeling to demonstrate hydrological principles and analysis techniques.

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