Reclamation Provides Dam Safety and Emergency Management Training to Brazil
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Brazilian National Water Agency (ANA) since 2016, providing training and technical assistance for water resources management. Reclamation provides technical support abroad to enhance its international reputation and cement its standing as a source of expertise in dam engineering and dam safety programs. In the summer of 2019, Reclamation employees traveled to Brasília, Brazil, to conduct two high-priority trainings with ANA. This program supports the objectives of the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy primarily by encouraging the sound management and protection of freshwater resources.
In July, with sponsorship from the Government of Brazil, three Reclamation employees provided dam safety training and conducted field inspections of two dams outside of Brasília with personnel from ANA and other partner agencies. During the dam safety workshop, Reclamation staff trained participants in diverse subjects including design principles of embankment and concrete dams, potential failure modes of embankment and concrete dams, monitoring dam performance, inspecting dams, and programmatic aspects of dam safety.
In August, Reclamation staff conducted a workshop on emergency management concepts, processes, and procedures. They trained approximately 80 Brazilian personnel with dam safety responsibilities, as well as other Brazilian federal, state, provincial, and private sector dam safety personnel. The training concluded with a simulated emergency response tabletop exercise with attendees practicing the role they normally perform for their job. Prior to the training, Brazilian personnel had very limited experience in emergency management. This training proved to be vital in helping the Brazilian government understand emergency planning concepts and actions needed to improve their preparedness and dam safety programs.
ANA and its stakeholders face significant water resource management challenges and both Reclamation trainings increased the technical expertise of employees. This program benefits the Department of the Interior’s mission, and that of the U.S. Government as a whole, by furthering important scientific and technical collaboration with the government of Brazil. In addition, the program provides Reclamation employees an opportunity to hone their training skills, learn about unique water management challenges, and expand their professional network. ANA was pleased with the trainings and has expressed interest in coordinating a return of Reclamation staff to Brazil to continue training both on dam safety and emergency management.