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Living with Dams: Extreme Rainfall Events | 2015

| 7

To avoid negligence a dam owner must

1) determine whether or not the dam is safe and

does not present a danger to downstream persons

and property and 2) eliminate unsafe conditions.


Failure to take the care that a

responsible person usually takes

Gross Negligence

Carelessness which is in reckless

disregard for the safety or lives of

others, and is so great it appears to

be a conscious violation of other

people’s rights to safety.

Reasonable Care

The degree of caution and

attention to possible dangers that

an ordinarily prudent and rational

person would use in similar



standard of duty


of a dam owner is one where

the dam owner is to act as a

reasonable man would act

understanding the dangers/

threats associated with owning

a dam and the impoundment

of water. It is proportional to the

downstream hazards involved

– the potential consequences

should the dam fail!

In generalized legal terms,

negligence could be assigned to

the dam owner for violation of a

‘duty to act as a reasonable and

prudent person’

would act.

When policymakers

lower regulatory

standards they increase

the probability of failure.

Failures are uncommon,

but when they occur the

consequences can be


Can an extreme rainfall event cause a dam failure?

What are the consequences of a dam failure, and who is


How would a dam failure affect the local community?

What steps can a local community and policy makers take

to reduce the risks to life and property associated with

extreme rainfall events and dams?

Ask Yourself This: