Risk Assessment Basics for an Individual Dam: On-Demand

There is a growing recognition of the value of using risk assessment as a supplement to traditional engineering approaches to dam safety decision making. This is referred to as a risk-informed approach in which decision making utilizes information obtained from a risk assessment along with other factors, including good engineering practice. Thus a risk assessment is not the sole basis for a decision, but rather it provides a systematic way of identifying what is important and where uncertainties exist. Risk assessment can also be valuable for justifying the extent and type of risk reduction and the phasing of risk-reduction measures. This webinar will provide an explanation of the steps involved in performing a risk assessment for an individual dam and how the resulting insights and risk estimates can improve decision making. Examples will be provided for evaluating an existing dam and for selecting between risk-reduction alternatives. 

David S. Bowles, Ph.D., P.E., P.H., D.WRE, F.ASCE

Managing Principal, RAC Engineers and Economists, LLC

Since 1978 David and his colleagues have pioneered the development and practical application of risk-informed approaches to dam safety management.  They have completed individual and portfolio risk assessments for more than 800 dams in many countries, ranging from screening assessments to detailed assessments with uncertainty analysis.  David has assisted with the development of tailored frameworks for dam and levee safety risk management for government and private owners, regulators and professional bodies in many countries.  Clients have included Reclamation, USACE, TVA, FERC, BIA, World Bank, WMO, IAEA, EPRI, EU, ANCOLD, CDA, NSW DSC and many major engineering firms.  David has served as an expert witness for law suits related to dam and canal failures, reservoir operation and hydropower generation, toxic tort, and urban flooding.

David is the Managing Principal of RAC Engineers and Economists and an Emeritus Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Utah State University (USU).  Previous positions include Director of the Institute for Dam Safety Risk Management and Director of Utah Center for Water Resources Research at USU, Engineering Department Manager and Branch Manager for Law Engineering’s Denver office, and a construction and design engineer for a large international contractor based in the UK.


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2.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
2.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available