US Army Corps of Engineers
Los Angeles District Website

Fact Sheet

Dam Safety Program

Alamo Dam

Published July 26, 2012
Aerial view of Alamo Dam

Aerial view of Alamo Dam

Location and Description

Alamo Dam is a multiple-purpose project that provides flood risk reduction, water supply and conservation, recreation, and fish and wildlife enhancement. It is located on the Bill Williams River where the Big Sandy River and Santa Maria River come together, about 35 miles upstream from Lake Havasu, 75 miles northwest of Phoenix and about 35 miles north of Wenden, Ariz.

Alamo Dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1937 (Public Law 75-406, 28 August 1937, as amended). The initial proposal for the project was contained in House Document No. 625, 78th congress, 2nd Session, dated April 11, 1944.

Alamo Dam was completed in 1968.

Dam Safety Issues

The primary objective of the Corps’ Dam Safety Program is to maintain public safety by making sure dams owned and operated by the Corps are safe, and the risks to the public are minimized. An integral part of the program is the risk-informed screening process. Dams are classified based upon confirmed or unconfirmed dam safety issues, the combination of life or economic consequences should failure occur and the probability of failure. This process enables us to prioritize dam safety actions to correct deficiencies, which include interim risk reduction measures to be undertaken while further investigations are conducted and remedial actions are implemented.

Current Status

Alamo Dam received a Dam Safety Action Class IV, or DSAC IV, rating in December 2008 based on a Screening Portfolio Risk Analysis, or SPRA, completed in May 2008. A DSAC IV rating is given to dams that are inadequate with low risk such that the combination of life, economic or environmental consequences with a probability of failure is low, and the dam may not meet all essential USACE engineering guidelines.

Alamo Dam received a DSAC IV rating because of the potential for:

·        Failure from overtopping of a Project Maximum Flood.

·        Failure from seepage and piping between top of impervious layer and top of dam during Project Maximum Flood.

As a result of Alamo Dam’s DSAC IV rating, the Corps has implemented the following Interim Risk Reduction Measures, or IRRMs:

·        No action required.

What’s next?

·        No action required.

Public Safety is Number One Priority

Public safety is our number one priority. While we cannot completely eliminate risk, we can reduce it. Our screening and classification of Alamo Dam does not mean that failure is taking place. It means we have identified dam safety issues that don’t meet industry standards and the risk to public safety is unacceptable. Routine inspections and operation of the dam will continue and emergency action plans have been developed in coordination with local emergency management officials. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest an emergency situation exists or is about to occur.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates 694 dams that serve a variety of purposes, including navigation, flood damage reduction, water supply, irrigation, hydropower, recreation, environmental enhancement and combinations of these purposes.  As part of our responsibility in managing these dams, the Corps has a comprehensive Dam Safety Program that has public safety as its primary objective. Corps dams are routinely inspected and continually evaluated for safety in compliance with the Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety issued in 1979 and Engineering Regulation ER 1110-2-1156, Safety of Dams – Policy and Procedures.