Water Management and Safety Overview

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 Dam Safety Program
  • To reduce flood damages, SWD manages a system of dams, levees, channels and local flood protection projects.  We’ve designed innovative, smaller flood control projects that also provide economic, environmental, recreation, and aesthetic benefits. 
  • These projects, estimated to have prevented $42.8 Billion in cumulative flood damages, have returned $40  for every Federal dollar spent.
  • Functions: The purpose of the dam safety program is to protect life and property by ensuring that all dams are designed, constructed, operated and maintained as safely and effectively as is reasonably practicable.

Southwestern Division Dam Safety Portfolio

1.      Fort Worth District – 25

2.      Galveston District  - 3

3.      Little Rock District – 25*

4.      Tulsa District – 38*

*Includes 18 Navigation dams between both Districts

The Dam safety program  is Risk Informed with a focus on:

  • Characterize Risk
  • Communicate Risk
  • Act to Eliminate / Mitigate Risk

Public safety is the primary focus of the Levee Safety Program. The Levee Safety Program is an integral component of a broad, national flood risk management effort that employs a system-wide approach to flood risk management and embraces shared responsibility. In order for the Levee Safety Program to be effective, USACE implements inspections of its levees on a continuous and periodic basis using state of the art technology and consistent risk methodologies. All Levee Safety Program activities will be communicated accurately and timely to drive action. Learn more about the USACE Levee Safety Program.

Program Objectives

  • Public Safety
  • Reduced Economic Impacts
  • Maximize Cost Effectiveness
  • Develop Reliable & Accurate Information
  • Build Public Trust and Acceptance
 Bridge Safety Program


  • Functions: All bridges owned or maintained by USACE on Civil Works projects shall be inspected and inventoried to ensure their safety and structural integrity.  All inspectors/inventories shall lbe officially reported in the Corps of Engineers Bridge Inventory System (CEBIS).

  • Goals/Metrics:  Public highway/roadway bridges with spans greater than 6.1m (20feet) shall be inspected and evaluated.  Other pedestrian bridges shall be inspected and evaluated.  The District CEBIS data, including entering all inspection and inventory data, shall be finalized no later than February 15th of each calendar year.

  • In accordance with ER 1110-2-111, August 2007, Engineering and Design Periodic Safety Inspections and Continuing Evaluation of USACE Bridges, the US Army Corps of Engineers is required to record and submit the data on all vehicular bridges owned and operated by the USACE to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) annually

Challenges / Issues:

    • Identifying qualified Regional Technical Experts to conduct technical quality assurance reviews of the District Bridge Inspections and Evaluations and other Bridge Safety Program related products.
    • Ensuring reviews are conducted as required.

Governing Documents

  • The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978 (PL 100-17)
  • National Bridge Inspection Standards
  • ER 1110-2-111 Engineering and Design, USACE Bridge Safety Program
 Water Management and Infrastructure Safety Branch:

This is one of two Branches in the Regional Business Technical Division. 

    (1) Water Management Program has oversight responsibility for the water management activities of the four SWD Districts.  These responsibilities include flood risk management, water supply, hydropower, navigation, water quality, fish and wildlife enhancement, and recreation. 

    (2) The Southwestern Division Dam Safety Program has the responsibility to protect life, property, and the environment by ensuring that all dams are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained as safely and effectively as is reasonably possible. 

    (3) The Southwestern Division Levee Safety Program’s mission is to work with others to assess, communicate and manage inundation risks to people, property and the environment resulting from breach or malfunction of components of levee systems. 

    (4) The Southwestern Division Bridge Safety Program must assure that all bridges owned or maintained by USACE on Civil Works projects are inspected and inventoried to ensure their safety and structural integrity.

SWD’s Civil Works area of responsibility includes all or part of six states [TX,OK,KS,MO,AR,LA] where we oversee hundreds of water resources projects.  In all, we are responsible for some 2.3 million acres of public land and water, 29% of the Corps’ total area.  Currently, we have 16 projects under construction and operate and maintain an additional 125 multipurpose projects.  Our Civil Works program totals about one-half billion this fiscal year and our projects prevented about $9.4B in flood damage reduction during record-setting regional rainfall in 2011.  That event impacted many of our projects from Kansas, through Oklahoma and Texas where our projects operated as designed to reduce human suffering and economic losses.  While reducing the flood damage, our projects region-wide incurred close to $170M in primary and recreation facility damage.

Actions associated with water management in the Southwestern Division include:

Flood Damage Reduction

  • 760 miles of Local Flood Protection Projects
  • $53.8B cumulative damages prevented
  • More than 33M acre-feet of flood storage


  • 2 major waterways 
  • 4 of the Nation’s top 10 ports
  • 12 deep-water and 22 shallow-draft ports
  • 1,458 miles of channels
  • More than one-half billion tons of commerce shipped annually
  • 2 major national waterways  (MKARNS, GIWW)
  • 4 of the Nation’s top 10 ports
  • 12 deep-water and 22 shallow-draft ports
  • 1,458 miles of channels
  •  More than one-half billion tons of commerce  shipped annually

Hydroelectric Power

  • 18 power plants
  • 8 non-Federal power plants at Corps dams
  • 87% of hydropower capacity in region

 Water Supply

  • 7.7millian acre-feet of storage for municipal,  industrial and agricultural use


  • 11,400 miles of lake shoreline
  • 1,172 recreation sites; 28,112 campsites
  • 83.6million recreation visits annually


  • 4,870 jurisdictional determinations in Fiscal Year 2011
  • 3,569 activities authorized under general permits; 326 individual permits


 Water Management

The Southwestern Division's Water Management (SWD-RBT-W) area of responsibility embraces all or part of seven states, an expanse that contains about 10 percent of the land area (approx. 376,300 sq. miles) and 11 percent (31.8 million) of the total population of the United States (2006 Population Statistics).  The SWD Water Management Division is headquartered in Dallas, Texas with the other District Water Management centers located in four engineer districts, with respective offices located in Fort Worth and Galveston, Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

The RBT Water Management Team is responsible for managing and tracking the Divisions' responsibility for flood damage reduction, water supply, navigation, hydropower, aquatic ecosystem restoration, recreation, and other water related needs.  The Southwestern Division maintains and operates 73 multi-purpose reservoirs, 18 lock and dams, and 14 Section-7 Projects (projects built by other agencies, but the flood control is operated by the Corps) for a total of 105 projects.  The four Southwestern District's Water Management internet pages can be accessed by clinking on the respective links.

District Links:

Fort Worth District Reservoir Control:            http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/

Little Rock District Water Management:         http://www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil/

Tulsa District Water Management:                   http://www.swt-wc.usace.army.mil/

Galveston District General Website:                http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/


  1. Lead Regional Water Center (WM/H&H)
  2. Monitor District Water Management Activities
  3. Provide timely Approval of Deviations to Water Control Manuals when circumstances warrant.       
  4. Review and Approve updated Water Control Manuals (Reviews completed within 2 months)

Additional current activities include:

  • Mississippi River Post 2011 Flood Assessment
  • ATR for SAM (update of ACT and ACF WCM’s)