Sector Overview

The Dams Sector delivers critical water retention and control services in the United States, including hydroelectric power generation, municipal and industrial water supplies, agricultural irrigation, sediment and flood control, river navigation for inland bulk shipping, industrial waste management, and recreation. Its key services support multiple critical infrastructure sectors and industries. The Dams Sector irrigates at least 10 percent of U.S. cropland, helps protect more than 43 percent of the U.S. population from flooding, and generates about 60 percent of electricity in the Pacific Northwest.

There are more than 2,300 regulated dams in South Carolina as reported by The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.  Dam hazard degrees include from High-hazard (C1) – Failure will likely cause loss of life or serious damage to infrastructure to Significant-hazard (C2) – Failure will not likely cause loss of life. But may damage infrastructure and Low-Hazard (C3) – Failure may cause limited property damage.

The Communications, Energy, Food and Agriculture, Transportation System, and Water Sectors all play an important role with the Dams Sector:

  • Communications – Communications networks enable remote Dams Sector operations and control
  • Energy – Hydropower dams provide critical electricity resources
  • Food and Agriculture – Dams Sector assets provide water for irrigation and protect farmland from flooding
  • Transportation Systems – Navigation lock systems in the Dams Sector enable all inland and intracoastal waterway freight movements. Major roads may traverse dams
  • Water – Dams Sector assets provide drinking water supplies and pumping capabilities


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