Legislation of the act would create a federal funding programme to repair the US’s unsafe public dams. Introduced by Representative Sue Kelly (19th District – NY), the bill would begin to address the thousands of public dams that threaten lives and livelihoods across the country.

If enacted, the Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act of 2005 would mandate:

• Establishment of a programme within the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund dam rehabilitation, repairs and removal.

• Enactment of a public fund to award grants for assistance to publicly owned deficient dams.

• Authorisation of US$350M over four years to assist in the rehabilitation of deficient dams.

‘Inspections alone do not make dams safe,’ insisted ASDSO president Ken Smith. ‘Owners need to be vigilant about the condition of their dam; obviously this means funding for rehabilitation and repair.’

ASCE and ASDSO are urging all 50 governors and state legislative leaders across the US to study the lessons of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy. The two organisations recommend a full review of unsafe dams regulated by states – which constitutes 95% of the nation’s 79,000+ dams.