How Technology Can Help You Pass Dam Safety Inspections | Rezatec

How Technology Can Help You Pass Dam Safety Inspections


How Technology Can Help You Pass Dam Safety Inspections

When the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published its assessment of America’s dams earlier this year, it wasn’t the kind of report card you want to rush home with. The D grade awarded is a collective score, covering dams across the US. But it has also left many of the customers we work with wondering what can be done to raise the grade and get the best possible result from a dam safety inspection.

As disappointing as the ASCE assessment might be, it’s not surprising. A report conducted by Canada’s UNU Institute for Water, Environment and Health highlighted that most of the world’s large dams were constructed between 1930 and 1970. When you consider they have a lifespan of anywhere between 50 to 100 years, it is only a matter of time before the cracks in the infrastructure begin to show.

Preparing for your dam safety inspection whatever the weather

Our weather is becoming more extreme each year, with temperature increases and unprecedented rainfall causing flooding and adding pressure to an infrastructure that is already struggling. In September 2021, water company Aqua Pennsylvania suffered a massive failure of an 18-inch-thick floodwall when the aftermath of Hurricane Ida passed through and dumped record levels of rain on the region. Water breached a 22-foot-high barrier and inundated the nearby water treatment plant. Fortunately there were no fatalities, but according to reports employees on site barely made it out in time. The incident is not isolated. Across America and the world, weather incidents caused by our changing climate are creating catastrophes with potentially deadly consequences.

Now is the time to take action when it comes to the condition and safety of our dams. And while there is little that a dam owner can do about extreme weather patterns, there are steps you can take to improve the monitoring of your dams, prepare for the next dam safety inspection and keep communities safe. Regular maintenance is going to be crucial in the battle against ageing assets and severe weather. So if the answer is greater resiliency, can we get there with better technology?  

Resiliency through technology: How to ace a dam safety inspection 

Geospatial AI is helping dam owners collect and utilize more data on their assets than ever before across vast areas. This means they can build a more detailed picture of a dam’s condition, supporting them in the preparation of a dam safety inspection. When it comes to mitigating the effects of ageing assets or extreme weather, the technology is providing valuable new insights. These point owners and engineers to the areas that need maintenance most and are enhancing (rather than replacing) traditional data collection methods. Manual inspections ‘on the ground’ can take weeks, sometimes months, to complete, and it’s not always accessible or safe. By using remote solutions like Geospatial AI, this monitoring can be done more frequently, using regularly refreshed data, and all from the comfort of your desk.

As an example of this in action, the Rezatec Dam Monitoring solution incorporates Geospatial AI to give dam operators the power to manage the integrity and safety of their entire asset base at scale. The technology works by tracking unusual changes in ground motion, vegetation (a sign of leakage) and moisture, all of which indicate that a fault or potential failure may occur further down the line. It fuses these multiple data feeds with advanced algorithms and incorporates satellite data to provide retrospective analysis and regular updates which build a unique picture of a dam’s condition over time. This level of new data makes preparing for a dam safety inspection easier. With brand new insights into the condition of dams, you can deploy resources to the right place at the right time, helping maintain your assets efficiently and ensure public safety.

We talk a lot about the potential for dam failure in this industry. But the current condition of dams combined with increasingly devastating weather events means the chance of a breach, flood or catastrophic event occurring is now becoming more probability than cautionary. With technology that combines satellite information from space with advanced AI algorithms, you gain better information on the dams that matter most. And may just get an A grade for your next dam safety inspection.

Book a FREE demo of Rezatec’s Geospatial AI technology today and discover how our solutions could help you improve efficiency and keep communities safe.

See how we can help

Take a look at geospatial AI in action. Explore how satellite data can provide a view of your entire asset base across vast areas. Discover how analytics drill down to a level of detail you never knew existed.