DAR File No. 40176

This rule was published in the February 15, 2016, issue (Vol. 2016, No. 4) of the Utah State Bulletin.

Natural Resources, Water Rights

Rule R655-12

Requirements for Operational Dams

Notice of Proposed Rule


DAR File No.: 40176
Filed: 01/30/2016 12:35:05 PM


Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:

The current rule requires clarification and an update to current industry practice.

Summary of the rule or change:

Section R655-12-4C is clarified and updated to current industry practice. Section R655-12-5 is clarified to current industry practice.

State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:

  • Title 73, Chapter 5a

Anticipated cost or savings to:

the state budget:

No cost involved--Clarification of processing does not require a dollar figure.

local governments:

No cost involved--Clarification of processing does not require a dollar figure.

small businesses:

No cost involved--Clarification of processing does not require a dollar figure.

persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:

No cost involved--Clarification of processing does not require a dollar figure.

Compliance costs for affected persons:

No cost involved--Clarification of processing does not require a dollar figure.

Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:

No fiscal impact--Clarification of processing does not require a dollar figure.

Michael Styler, Executive Director

The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:

Natural Resources
Water RightsRoom 220
SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84116-3154

Direct questions regarding this rule to:

  • Marianne Burbidge at the above address, by phone at 801-538-7370, by FAX at 801-538-7467, or by Internet E-mail at marianneburbidge@utah.gov

Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:


This rule may become effective on:


Authorized by:

Michael Styler, Executive Director


R655. Natural Resources, Water Rights.

R655-12. Requirements for Operational Dams.

R655-12-4C. Instrumentation Monitoring and Reporting.

The following monitoring and reporting requirements are applicable to all instrumented dams under normal, long term operating conditions, unless otherwise approved by the State Engineer . [ Different monitoring and reporting requirements, for long term operation, can be implemented if deemed appropriate by the State Engineer. ] Under unusual conditions, the State Engineer may require additional criteria. Instrumentation requirements for new dams should be outlined in the Initial Filling Plan as per R655-12-3A. The type of instrumentation required is presented in R655-11-10.

1. Seepage in the vicinity of any dam shall be monitored, typically including lateral extent, turbidity and flow rate. Collection [ collected ]in a properly designed drainage system [ with provisions to measure the flow rate ]as outlined in R655-11-6E may be required.

2. All piezometers and drains shall be monitored at least monthly when the reservoir exceeds 50% of the hydraulic height. Where reservoir elevations vary substantially over an irrigation season, [R]readings shall be obtained on a weekly basis when the reservoir exceeds 90% of the hydraulic height. Readings can return to a monthly frequency four weeks after the reservoir level peaks, provided measurements are stable and within anticipated ranges. In all cases, instrumentation should be monitored at the beginning of the reservoir filling season, at the peak reservoir elevation, and at the maximum reservoir drawdown.

3. The elevation of the reservoir shall be recorded at the time of all readings as described in 2. above.

4. All dam instrumentation (including piezometers, drains, reservoir gage, survey monuments, and any other dam instrumentation) shall be monitored immediately following an earthquake where ground motions are felt in the area or the owner is informed of seismic activity in the vicinity. Results of the inspection and instrumentation readings should be immediately sent to the State Engineer.

5. Copies of all instrumentation monitoring data should be forwarded to the State Engineer, on a monthly basis, following collection of the data. It is the responsibility of those obtaining the data to know if readings are within normal historical and/or design operating parameters. Emergency conditions should be assumed if readings exceed normal historical and/or design operating parameters and immediate notification of the State Engineer is required.

6. All instrumentation shall be documented by plotting locations on a plan view of the dam and by assigning a unique, identifiable name. A table for all instruments which provides base line data shall also be prepared. Piezometer data should include the name, location, monitoring location (e.g., zone 1, zone 2, foundation), top elevation, total depth, and depth of porous interval. Drain data should include the name, location, collection interval, and flow rate monitoring methods. Survey monuments should include the name, location, and vertical and horizontal coordinates. The reservoir storage gage should be marked in at least one foot intervals and an elevation datum provided that is consistent with all other dam instrumentation.

7. The data required for any other dam instrumentation (inclinometers, temperature probes, chemical composition), will depend on the type and purpose of the instrumentation.


R655-12-5. Minimum Standards for Existing Dams.

The following minimum standards are applicable to existing high hazard dams. In the event compliance with the following standards may not be cost effective, the State Engineer may consider other alternatives such as risk-based assessments, acquisition of habitable structures, acquisition of downstream easements, installation of early warning systems, construction of levees, or other means to diminish the threat to human life. Dams with a hazard rating upgraded to high hazards [ immediately ]be subject to [ the ]minimum standards for existing dams.


KEY: dam safety, dams, reservoirs

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [September 12, 2011]2016

Notice of Continuation: April 14, 2011

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law: 73-5a


Additional Information

More information about a Notice of Proposed Rule is available online.

The Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the Bulletin is the official version. The PDF version of this issue is available at https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/bull-pdf/2016/b20160215.pdf. The HTML edition of the Bulletin is a convenience copy. Any discrepancy between the PDF version and HTML version is resolved in favor of the PDF version.

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For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Marianne Burbidge at the above address, by phone at 801-538-7370, by FAX at 801-538-7467, or by Internet E-mail at marianneburbidge@utah.gov.  For questions about the rulemaking process, please contact the Division of Administrative Rules.