Natural Resources

Efficiently and responsibly managing and protecting our water and land resources for the sustainability, health, safety, and economic benefit of the State of Arkansas

Dam Safety


To provide for the comprehensive regulation and supervision of dams for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Arkansas. To assure proper planning, design, construction, maintenance, monitoring, and supervision of dams, including such preventative measures necessary to provide an adequate margin of safety.


Subchapter 2 of Chapter 22 of Title 15 of the Arkansas Code of 1987, as amended, authorizes the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to develop and enforce rules and regulations governing the design and operation of dams in the State.


All dams with a height of 25 or more feet and containing 50 acre-feet or more of storage at the normal pool must have a valid construction and operation permit from the Commission unless they are owned by the United States Government. If smaller dams pose a threat to life or property, they may also require regulation by the State based on petitions by downstream landowners and results of public hearings.

Duties of the Dam Safety Section include:

  • Reviewing applications for permits to assure proper safety standards are met
  • Issuing permits to construct and operate dams in the State
  • Inspecting dams under State jurisdiction
  • Providing information and education to dam owners and the public
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of emergency action plans for high-hazard dams
  • Responding to dam emergencies
  • Maintaining a database and files on dams in the State
  • Collecting annual permit fees (handled through the Financial Affairs Office)