Implementation of the Bureau of Reclamation's Safety of Dams Program

RCED-86-139BR: Published: Apr 25, 1986. Publicly Released: May 6, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Bureau of Reclamation's Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams Program to determine: (1) the number of dams with safety problems that the Bureau had identified; (2) the number of dams modified; and (3) the adequacy of funding to correct dams identified as needing safety modifications.

GAO found that the Bureau: (1) inspected all of the 275 dams in its safety program; (2) completed detailed safety analyses on 125 dams and has plans to complete analyses on the remaining dams by 1994; (3) corrected safety deficiencies at 13 dams at a cost of $31 million; and (4) identified 67 dams needing safety modifications. Bureau officials believe that the $750 million authorization should be sufficient to carry out the modifications; however, because all safety analyses have not been completed, the estimated costs cannot be refined. GAO believes that the program funds should not be used for the construction of a dam at the Central Arizona Project because this would leave a relatively smaller share for work at other facilities; therefore, the Bureau will have to reconsider its plans for and the use of those funds.

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