The Dams Sector is composed of assets that include dam projects, hydropower generation facilities, navigation locks, levees, dikes, hurricane barriers, mine tailings, other industrial waste impoundments, and other similar water retention and water control facilities. The Dams Sector is a vital part of the nation's infrastructure and provides a wide range of economic, environmental, and social benefits, including hydroelectric power, river navigation, water supply, wildlife habitat, waste management, flood control, and recreation.
There are over 87,000 dams in the United States, approximately 65 percent are privately owned and state dams safety offices regulates more than 77 percent. The Dams Sector has interdependencies with a wide range of other sectors, including:
- The Emergency Services Sector - Emergency response sometimes rely on Dams Sector assets for firefighting water supply, emergency water supply, and waterway access during a significant disaster where access by land is impossible.
- The Energy Sector - Hydropower dams produce approximately 8 to 12 percent of the nation’s power needs.
- The Food and Agriculture Sector - Dams Sector assets are a source of water for our nation's food and agriculture production.
- The Transportation Systems Sector - Dams and locks manage navigable waters throughout inland waterways for shipping and recreation.
- The Water and Wastewater Systems Sector - Water and wastewater management systems rely on Dams Sector assets to provide water to large populated areas and commercial facilities.
The Dams Sector-Specific Plan (PDF, 136 pages – 1.45 MB) details how the National Infrastructure Protection Plan risk management framework is applied to the sector's unique characteristics and risk landscape. Each sector-specific agency develops a sector-specific plan through a coordinated effort involving its public and private sector partners. The Department of Homeland Security is designated as the Dams Sector's sector-specific agency.
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