Division of Safety of Dams

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“To protect people against loss of life and property from dam failure. The California Water Code entrusts this regulatory power to the Department of Water Resources, which delegates the program to the Division of Safety of Dams.”

Agency Functions

The California Division of Safety of Dams is a division under California’s Department of Water Resources. Department engineers oversee site plans, construction, and monitoring. Annually, division engineers inspect over 1200 state dams. A dam review can include, “site geology, seismic setting, site investigations, construction material evaluation, dam stability, hydrology, hydraulics, and structural review of appurtenant structures.” About one-third of the dams require comprehensive “surveillance network data” review. An “emergency action plan” (EAP) prepares private and commercial dam owners in the event of a natural disaster or if the dam does not pass inspection. Dam sustainability depends on strategic site selection and continuous monitoring.

The DSOD does not directly manage water rights or water diversions. The State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Water Rights (SWRCB) works with the DSOD to provide water rights proof before a “Certificate of Approval” is granted for individual water storage.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR)


“To manage the water resources of California in cooperation with other agencies, to benefit the State's people, and to protect, restore, and enhance the natural and human environments.”

Agency Functions

As a parent organization to DSOD, the DWR manages, conserves and develops infrastructure for the state’s waterways, to provide public water resources. In the event of a flood, drought, or natural disaster, the DWR strives to protect public health and maintain infrastructure vitality.


  1.  "Division of Safety of Dams"

Office Engineer

Roberto P. Cervantes
(916) 227-4601