Do you live near a watershed dam?
Georgia has 357 watershed dams. Watershed dams provide flood control, water quality, recreation, and water supply benefits to Georgia citizens. The Watershed Dams Program was initiated to give financial and technical assistance to ensure that the state's dams maintain their structural integrity, operate effectively to continue providing community services, and comply with the Georgia Safe Dams Act.
Information in this database provides the name of the watershed dam, its sponsors, the purpose, date of completion, whether the dam is a Category I or II according to the Georgia Safe Dams Act, and whether the dam is a Class A, B, or C according to classification by the USDA-NRCS. You can learn about watershed dams in your county by clicking:
Georgia Watershed Dams - Map (PDF)
Georgia Watershed Dams - Search by County
Although there are 357 watershed dams in Georgia, these are only a small percentage of the the more than 4,600 dams in the state. Only four states (Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma) have more dams than Georgia. In Georgia the majority of dams are privately owned. Many people are not aware that they are living either upstream or downstream from a dam.
Safety of Georgia's Dams
Statistics related to Georgia's dams, as well as contact information, can be found on the Association of State Dam Safety Officials' web page for the Georgia Dam Safety Program.
Additional information on state dam safety resources is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Dams in Georgia are categorized according to two systems:
Georgia Safe Dams Act:
Category I - Improper operation or dam failure could result in probable loss of human life.
Category II - Improper operation or dam failure would not be expected to result in probable loss of human life.
USDA-NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) Classifications
Class A - Dams located in rural or agricultural areas where failure may damage farm buildings, agricultural land, or township or country roads.
Class B - Significant Hazard. Dams located in predominately rural or agricultural areas where failure may damage isolated homes, main highways or minor railroads, or cause interruption of use of service of relatively important public utilities.
Class C - Dams located where failure may cause loss of life, serious damage to homes, industrial and commercial buildings, important public utilities, main highways, or railroads.
A History of Watershed Dams
Watershed planning has been an important part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) mission since the 1930s. Flood control prevention through the establishment of watershed dams became a national responsibility starting in 1936 when USDA assumed responsibility for performing surveys and devising flood control plans for selected watersheds under the authority of the Flood Control Act of 1936 (P.L. 74-738). This occurred a year after President Roosevelt signed the Soil Conservation Act (PL 74-46), creating the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) in the USDA.
Watershed Dams in Georgia
Under The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, the Soil Conservation Service/Natural Resources Conservation Service was authorized to cooperate with states and local agencies to carry out works of improvement for soil conservation and for other purposes including flood prevention; conservation, development, utilization and disposal of water; and conservation and proper utilization of land.
Specific rules govern development of a watershed plan:
- All watershed plans require a non-USDA governmental sponsor
- Sponsors are required to obtain all land rights
- Sponsors are responsible for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the structural measures (dams, channels and critical treatment areas)
Maintenance-South Fork Broad River #19-Oglethorpe County