PUBLIC NOTICE: Galveston District performing maintenance work on Barker Dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston District is repairing surface cracks noticeable along the gravel roadway on top of the Barker Dam.

On September 1, 2022, the USACE Galveston District began repairing cracks along the top of the Barker dam. The cracks vary in width from about one to eight inches and may be noticed anywhere along the unpaved extent of the dam. It is important that members of the public using the dams for recreation stay clear of maintenance crews working along the roadway on top of the dam and avoid potential tripping hazards associated with the cracks. Initial maintenance work is expected to be complete by this weekend.

These cracks are commonly found in clay soils commonly used to build dams and levees. They desiccate as they experience hot and dry summer conditions. The cracks run parallel to the crest of the dam and are between one to three feet deep. USACE teams are already conducting operations to maintain the dam and will continue to monitor and evaluate risk to the reservoirs and the surrounding communities.

No change in reservoir operations is planned. USACE will continue normal operations of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in accordance with the Water Control Manual, weather conditions, and the mission of the project.

The Addicks and Barker dams and reservoirs are federally funded and operated projects located adjacent to each other on the upper watershed of Buffalo Bayou. The dams were constructed in the 1940s in response to damaging floods on Buffalo Bayou that struck Houston in 1929 and 1935. They are designed to collect and release rainfall down Buffalo Bayou at a controlled rate that reduces risk of flooding in downtown Houston and the urban areas west of downtown.

For more news and information, visit our website at or visit the Addicks and Barker Facebook page at

Corps Water Management System (CWMS) Forecast

Galveston District water management professionals use the Corps Water Management System (CWMS) to help plan reservoir operations when precipitation is expected.  

The Corps Water Management System (CWMS) modeling suite is run when precipitation is anticipated to help plan reservoir operations. 

You can view a recent CWMS forecast here: CWMS Forecast  (as of  July 2, 2021)

Note: This CWMS forecast was created using the best data available at the time. It may not accurately reflect current or future conditions. We provide updated forecasts whenever the National Weather Service substantially changes its precipitation forecast.

Addicks and Barker Dams

More than 70 years ago, in response to floods that devastated Houston in 1929 and 1935, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) constructed the Addicks and Barker Dams. When completed in 1948, the reservoirs occupied rural and agricultural land in far western Harris County and eastern Fort Bend County. Today, the reservoirs straddle Interstate 10 in an area that is crowded with homes and businesses.

Addicks and Barker reservoirs are designed to control flooding in Houston by capturing rainwater that falls to the west of the city and releasing it in a controlled manner into Buffalo Bayou, which flows through the center of Houston and eastward to the Gulf of Mexico. Though Addicks and Barker are old, they are regularly inspected as part of USACE’s Dam Safety Program. This program demonstrates our commitment to protecting lives, property, and the environment by ensuring that all dams are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to the highest safety standards. The Dam Safety Program provides a framework to ensure that short-term issues are addressed, and long-term viability is maintained for the safety of nearby communities. Such regular monitoring has resulted in recent improvements to the gates and outlet structures on both dams.

Galveston District's Dam Safety Program

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a rigorous Dam Safety Program that requires continuous inspections of all federally-operated dams nationwide. This program demonstrates our commitment to protecting lives, property, and the environment through continuous assessment, communication, and management. Even though Addicks and Barker Reservoirs are dry much of the time, they are continuously monitored by a full-time staff.

The way USACE evaluates dam safety has changed. In the past, we based our risk assessments solely on a dam’s structural integrity. Now we use a formula that also considers the potential consequences of dam failure. For example, a dam failure in a large metropolitan area like Houston is more likely to cause major damage, than a dam in a rural area.

Based on this new risk-assessment formula, USACE identified two areas of concern at Addicks and Barker that resulted in both dams being designated “extremely high risk.”

  1. The structures (or gates) in the dams that open and close to permit outflow into Buffalo Bayou, and
  2. The ends of the dams

This does not mean that Addicks and Barker are in imminent danger of failing, but the structural issues identified above, combined with the fact that the nation’s fourth largest city is located downstream of the dams, resulted in the “high-risk” designation.

The “extremely high risk” designation places Addicks and Barker high on the list for funding and expedites all actions related to these two dams.

Galveston District Houston Project Office
Mailing Address:
USACE Galveston District
P.O. Box 218747
Houston, TX  77218

Phone: 281-752-2600