May 31 is National Dam Safety Awareness Day: Dam Safety is Priority One at NID

May 29, 2020

Public safety is always on our minds at the Nevada Irrigation District (NID), especially when it comes to its dams. The District’s dams allow us to store water in reservoirs, creating a supply of water throughout the year for our customers in Nevada, Placer and Yuba Counties.

At NID, dam safety is our number one priority. It is so important to NID that Board Policy requires the creation of a Dam Safety Program that explicitly states, “No power production or other business objectives shall be allowed to compromise dam safety or regulatory compliance.”

To ensure it as a priority, NID has committed two engineering employees full time to the effort along with an additional 28 employee that incorporate dam safety into their daily work. An Emergency Action Plan is also in place that looks at seismic stabilities, probable maximum floods, operational equipment, etc., and includes outreach and training for local first responders.

NID’s dam safety program requires that we have staff available 24/7/365. We conduct weekly inspections as conditions permit, and perform formal, detailed inspections monthly looking for anything unusual. In addition to routine inspection, NID commissioned an independent audit of our Dam Safety Program last year and every 5 years we have an independent review of everything associated with our dams. In addition to the inspections that NID conducts, NID is subject to annual audits by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and California’s Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD).

“Ensuring our dams are 100 percent functional and continually inspected is of paramount importance,” stated Keane Sommers, Hydroelectric Department Manager. “We are proud of our employees’ commitment to dam safety.”

NID reliably operates 15 dams under the jurisdiction of State and Federal Agencies, seven hydroelectric plants and 12 miles of overhead power lines that deliver 83 Megawatts of clean renewable hydropower to the electric-grid. Every year the revenue from hydroelectric sales offsets water rates for the District’s 30,000 customers in Nevada, Placer and Yuba counties. We deliver water for clean energy.