Division of Safety of Dams

An aerial view of Perris Dam and Lake Perris in 2014

An aerial view of Perris Dam and Lake Perris. DWR/2014.

Since August 14, 1929, the State of California has regulated dams to prevent failure, safeguard life, and protect property. The California Water Code entrusts dam safety regulatory power to DWR, Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD). We provide oversight to the design, construction, and maintenance of over 1,200 jurisdictional sized dams in California.

We ensure dam safety by:

  • Reviewing and approving dam enlargements, repairs, alterations, and removals to ensure that the dam appurtenant structures are designed to meet minimum requirements.
  • Performing independent analyses to understand dam and appurtenant structures performance. These analyses can include structural, hydrologic, hydraulic, and geotechnical evaluations.
  • Overseeing construction to ensure work is being done in accordance with the approved plans and specifications.
  • Inspecting each dam on an annual basis to ensure it is safe, performing as intended, and is not developing issues. Roughly 1/3 of these inspections include in-depth instrumentation reviews of the dam surveillance network data.
  • Periodically reviewing the stability of dams and their major appurtenances in light of improved design approaches and requirements, as well as new findings regarding earthquake hazards and hydrologic estimates in California.

Information regarding the supervision of dams is provided here to better serve the public, dam owners, and applicants.

Dams within Jurisdiction of the State of California

Information about each jurisdictional dam was obtained from applications and plans submitted by owners, surveys, supplementary information acquired during inspections, and special studies. View the publications section below for more information.

Dam owners should read the Responsibility and Liability brochure (PDF) prepared by the Association of State Dam and Safety Officials.




Contact Us

General Information

Phone: (916) 565-7868 Email: damsafety@water.ca.gov

View additional information on the DSOD contact page


Street Address:

     Division of Safety of Dams

     2720 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 300
     Sacramento, CA 95833



Application for Approval of Plans and Specifications for the Construction or Enlargement of a Dam and Reservoir

Application for Approval of Plans and Specifications for the Repair or Alteration of a Dam and Reservoir

Application for Approval of Plans and Specifications for the Removal of a Dam and Reservoir

Please contact us to request the following forms:


Cost Affidavit for Work Complete under Application-Construction, Enlargement, Alteration or Repair of a Dam and Reservoir

Ownership Statement for Jurisdictional Dam and Reservoir