BIA Safety of Dams Early Warning System

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for 910 dams on Indian reservations; of which 137 are classified as high- and significant-hazard. Having been built several decades ago, many of the dams are not aging well and pose dam safety risks. BIA is actively modifying some of these dams to an acceptable safety level, however, with limited budgetary funds each year, a number of dams go unmodified until funding becomes available.

As part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Safety of Dams program, BIA built and operates the National Monitoring Center, a 24/7/365-manned emergency operations center in Montana to ensure the safety of downstream communities. The dams are scattered on tribal lands throughout the western U.S.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Dam Safety Program uses OneRain’s Real-time Hazardous Flood Detection Solutions to support their National Monitoring Center.

The National Monitoring Center (NMC) Early Warning System is built upon the integrated real-time monitoring instrumentation, telemetry and centralized enterprise data collection services infrastructure developed by OneRain.

Under contract with the BIA since 2003, OneRain has been working in partnership with the agency’s Safety of Dams program supporting and continually enhancing the Early Warning System (EWS) in all aspects. OneRain and the NMC’s emergency personnel currently monitor more than 2,637 sensors for more than 112 high-hazard dams in real time. Key to the success of the program is knowing how well the instrumentation and sensors are performing at all times. The program includes daily system performance analysis that detects outages automatically. BIA, with OneRain, has an excellent preventive, proactive and routine inspection maintenance schedule in place for the monitoring instrumentation for ensuring that the flood warning network provides accurate, reliable information during a hydrological event.

Several sensors comprise OneRain’s remote dam safety monitoring instrumentation and gauges shown here at Lower Mundo Dam – part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Safety of Dams program.


The majority of the dam sites are on tribal lands in extremely remote locations. The Safety of Dams program uses OneRain’s StormLink real-time satellite systems to relay data from sensing sites and from local line-of-sight ALERT/ALERT2 or SCADA systems to OneRain’s data center where its decision-support software, Contrail®, continually collects and monitors rainfall, water level, stage height, flow rate data and more, in real time.

All the data coming in are automatically processed, analyzed and disseminated in real time in Contrail. Alarms events are triggered based on advanced customized rules and the system automatically generates and sends out early warning notifications with Emergency Action Plan (EAP) procedures to alert emergency personnel of possible hazardous and flood-threatening conditions. For example: if the stage height is near a bank full threshold, and it has rained more than 0.5-inches upstream in the last half hour, then an alarm is triggered. The alert notification system supports sending messages to cell phones, email, and text pagers. BIA and NMC staff have 24/7 secure web-based access to the system where they can see up-to-the-minute current conditions on high resolution maps, dashboards, charts, graphs and tables.

With OneRain’s system, the BIA and the NMC know at all times that their dam safety systems are up and running, or that it needs attention.

The National Monitoring Center is the key in providing significantly enhanced public safety to populations downstream from Bureau of Indian Affairs high-risk, significant-hazard dams.


#damearlywarningsystem #damsafety #safetyofdams


OneRain Showcases Its Active Dam Safety Monitoring Solution at Dam Safety Conference

LONGMONT, COLORADO, August, 2015 – OneRain is pleased to announce its participation at Dam Safety 2015 where they will be showcasing their Active Dam Safety Monitoring solution. Dam Safety 2015 is the official national conference of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), the premier educational and networking event in the dam safety industry that attracts attendees from all over the world. This year’s conference takes place September 13-17, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. OneRain supports Dam Safety Monitoring programs where high-risk and significant-hazard designated dams pose a risk to extensive property damage or possible loss of human life due to mis-operation or dam failure.

Colorado-based OneRain (formerly DIAD Inc.) has been designing, building, rehabilitating, operating and maintaining real-time environmental monitoring systems to keep tabs on flood-prone waterways and dams since 1992. Their Active Dam Safety Monitoring solution can detect and alert threatening conditions in advance, automatically notifying dam owners and officials tasked with the safe operation and maintenance of the dam with crucial real-time information so they can make timely, well-informed operational decisions.

OneRain Gauge Instrumentation at Spinney Mountain Reservoir
OneRain provides real-time monitoring and maintains gauge instrumentation at Spinney Mountain Reservoir, Aurora, Colorado. Photo credit: Scott Bores, Manager of Field Engineering, OneRain Inc.

Dam owners are responsible for maintaining a dam in a safe condition to reduce the risk a dam creates. Safe, cost-effective dam operations require reliable, timely environmental and dam status information.

“When it comes to Dam Safety monitoring programs, OneRain takes a complete systems approach to ensure dependable real-time remote monitoring,” says James Logan, OneRain’s CEO. Many of the dam monitoring sites are in very remote areas but with populations downstream that could be affected if anything goes wrong. For these early warning systems to be successful, highly available, reliable, accurate and timely data are paramount. Early detection of threatening conditions and severe storm events that could lead to failure, allows time for dam officials to issue early warnings, determine what areas might be affected and who may need to be evacuated. “To that end, OneRain’s complete solution approach gives us more effective control over the delivery, timeliness, quality and accuracy of the data that decision-makers rely on in making their assessments,” says Logan.

OneRain’s end-to-end Active Dam Safety Monitoring solution provides critical decision-support information in real time. The system provides Web and local visualization services, real-time satellite telemetry, and telemetry system integration as well as options for real-time gauge-adjusted radar-rainfall (GARR) data, basin-average rainfall and predictive/forecast rainfall estimates. GARR provides highly accurate rainfall estimates on a pixel and basin-accumulated basis and creates the most accurate estimates of reservoir inflow from rain currently available.

Data are gathered from an array of integrated real-time monitoring gauge instruments measuring reservoir elevation, flow, spillway, discharge, weather, rainfall, float switches, wind, temperature, vibrating wire piezometers, tiltmeters, inclinometers, seismic and more—these sensor data are collected, processed, analyzed and disseminated in real time by Contrail®, OneRain’s enterprise visualization and decision-support software. Dam operations personnel are able to access the system round-the-clock to know what’s going on at any particular point in time. Up-to-the-minute reporting is presented graphically in geo-referenced maps and visually informative dashboards that enable key personnel to quickly evaluate conditions at the dams. Designated officials and response personnel also receive automated advance warnings of potential problems via text message and email when predefined conditions and sensor thresholds are exceeded. Emergency Action Plan-related information is often included with these alert notifications to assist responding safety and emergency personnel.

Equally important is the quality of gauge instrumentation maintenance at the dam. Routine, preventative maintenance of the instrumentation at each dam location is key to ensuring that the early warning network provides accurate, reliable information during a hydrological event. OneRain’s Field Services group also provides these services and conducts best practices training on preventative, breakdown and reliablity-centered maintenance programs to ensure the highest network performance.

If you’re planning to be in New Orleans for the ASDSO Dam Safety 2015 Conference, be sure to stop by OneRain’s booth #300 to see a demo of their Active Dam Safety Monitoring solution.

About OneRain Incorporated
For more than 20 years, OneRain has been providing private and public sector clients across the United States and around the world with solutions to optimize water management, heighten regulatory compliance, achieve successful civil works, and save lives. OneRain’s innovative products and services serve clients in Flood Early Warning and Emergency Management, Dam Safety and Reservoir Operations, Water Resource Management, Post Wild Fire Mitigation, Urban Pluvial Water Management, and Stormwater and Wastewater Management. For more information, visit or call 1-800-758-RAIN (7246).

Contact Information
Rosemarie O’Connell, Sales & Marketing, OneRain Incorporated Phone: 303-774-2033 | E-mail:

The failure of dams and the great destruction and loss of life failures often cause, is a matter of deep concern to the members of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO). ASDSO is a national non-profit organization serving state dam safety programs and the broader dam safety community, which includes federal dam safety professionals, dam owners and operators, engineering consultants, emergency managers, manufacturers, suppliers, academia, contractors, and others interested in improving dam safety.