This web-based monitoring software solution—available only to USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employees and project sponsors with level 2 eAuth credentials—was developed to assist with monitoring and managing NRCS-assisted dams. The tool empowers dam owners to predict, identify, prepare for, manage, and record potentially destructive environmental events.
DamWatch® centralizes and makes accessible all database and geospatial information through an interactive web interface. Essential personnel are alerted via any electronic medium (cell phones, pagers, email, and fax) and can implement Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) if necessary when dams are experiencing a dangerous or critical event. Although NRCS personnel may elect to receive DamWatch® alerts, the project sponsor is responsible for monitoring dams and notifying authorities during an emergency. NRCS may be available to assist the project sponsor at the sponsor’s request.
NRCS has worked with U.S. Engineering, a software development company, since 2012 to customize the DamWatch® web application to meet the needs of the approximately 12,000 NRCS project dam owners and sponsors. DamWatch® offers:
- 24/7 asset management and environmental conditions monitoring Software-as-a-Service (SaaS),
- 24/7 secure web-based accessibility through an intuitive interface that provides geographical and situational awareness for command and control,
- Alerts key personnel of potentially destructive events,
- Optional Dynamic Form Generation Tool: implement, customize, and manage client forms,
- Ticketing system incorporated for document management, sharing, and tracking real-time status,
- Accesses, digitizes, and securely stores all files and data (plans, photos, reports, inspections, EAPs, project files, etc.), and
- Emergency preparedness, simulation, and exercise tool.
The application allows users to access important project dam information—including as-built plans, operation and maintenance agreements, emergency action plans, inundation maps, inspection reports, photos, videos and assessment reports—in real-time emergency situations. In 2021, NRCS entered into an interagency agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to add up to 600 of its dams to the system.