The International Commission on large Dams, with its headquarters in Paris, was founded in 1928 (80 years ago). This commission is a non-governmental international organization (NGO) which provides a platform for exchange of knowledge and experience in dam engineering.

The organization leads the profession in ensuring that dams are built safely, efficiently, economically and without detrimental effects on the environment. Its original aim was to encourage advances in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of large dams and their associated civil works, by collecting and disseminating relevant information and by studying related technical questions.

Since the late sixties, focus was put on subjects of current concern such as dam safety, monitoring of performance, reanalysis of older dams and spillways, effects of ageing and environmental impact. More recently, new subjects include cost studies at the planning and construction stages, harnessing international rivers, information for the public at large and financing.

Mission of ICOLD

ICOLD leads the profession in setting standards and guidelines to ensure that dams are built and operated safely, efficiently, economically, and are environmentally sustainable and socially equitable.

ICOLD wishes to be the world’s leading professional organization, dedicated to advancing the art and science of dam engineering and promoting the wise and sustainable development and management of world’s water and hydropower resources.

ICOLD is assisting nations to prepare to meet the challenges of the 21st century in the development and management of the world’s water and hydropower resources.

The main goals of ICOLD as stated in its current constitution are as follows:

  • Ensuring dam safety
  • Ensuring economic justification for dams
  • Ensuring dams are built efficiently without negative environment impacts

ICOLD Organization

The Officers of the Commission are comprised of the president, the secretary-general from France and 5 vice presidents from five continents of the world. ICOLD comprises of 91 member countries, in which these countries contain more than 90% of the world’s water supplies.

In past seventy years, focus of this commission has been put on issues such as dam safety, monitoring of performances, execution problems, reanalysis of older dams and spillways, and effects of ageing on the environment. More recently, important issues such as construction cost studies, problems related to international rivers, and financial analysis of the dam projects have been added to the list of activities of the commission.

Presently, ICOLD has 28 Technical Committees that address current technical issues related to the development and management of water resources. The listing of the ICOLD Committees is given hereafter.

ICOLD Technical Committee Title
A COMPUTATIONAL ASPECTS OF ANALYSIS AND DESIGN OF DAMS (2020-23)
B SEISMIC ASPECTS OF DAM DESIGN (2020-23)
C HYDRAULICS FOR DAMS (2019-22)
D CONCRETE DAMS (2018-21)
E EMBANKMENT DAMS (2020-23)
F ENGINEERING ACTIVITIES WITH THE PLANNING PROCESS FOR WATER RESOURCES PROJECTS (2014-22)
G ENVIRONMENT (2020-22)
H DAM SAFETY (2018-21)
I PUBLIC SAFETY AROUND DAMS (2016-22)
J SEDIMENTATION OF RESERVOIRS (2020-21)
K INTEGRATED OPERATION OF HYDROPOWER STATIONS AND RESERVOIRS (2015-23)
L TAILINGS DAMS & WASTE LAGOONS (2020-23)
LE LEVEES (2018-2024)
M OPERATION, MAINTENANCE AND REHABILITATION OF DAMS (2020-23)
N PUBLIC AWARENESS AND EDUCATION (2018-21)
O WORLD REGISTER OF DAMS AND DOCUMENTATION (2020-21)
P CEMENTED MATERIAL DAMS (2020-25)
Q DAM SURVEILLANCE (2017-22)
RE RESETTLEMENT DUE TO RESERVOIRS (2018-2021)
RTS RESIDUAL TROPICAL SOILS (2020-23)
S FLOOD EVALUATION AND DAM SAFETY (2020-24)
T PROSPECTIVE AND NEW CHALLENGES FOR DAMS AND RESERVOIRS IN THE 21st CENTURY (2020-23) (AD HOC Committee)
U DAMS AND RIVER BASIN MANAGEMENT (2018-21)
V HYDROMECHANICAL EQUIPMENT (2016-22)
X FINANCIAL AND ADVISORY (AD HOC Committee)
Y CLIMATE CHANGE (2017-21)
Z CAPACITY BUILDING AND DAMS (2017-21)
XX YOUNG ENGINEERS