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close this bookDam Failure (FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency)
View the documentDAM FAILURE


Analyzing the Risks


The failure of dams due to excessive rainfall, volcanic eruption, poor construction, poor maintenance, or earthquake activity can cause catastrophic floods.

Geographic Considerations

A dam failure could affect everyone living in the floodplain downstream of a man-made dam. There are more than 80,000 dams throughout the United States; more than 20,000 are classified as posing "high" or "significant" hazards. These designations mean that if such a dam failed, lives could be lost and extensive property damage would be suffered.