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.
The science of dam engineering and water management has been and is being advanced through ICOLD activities.
ICOLD was founded in 1928 and has National Committees from 88 countries with approximately 10 000 individual members.
ICOLD members are essentially practicing engineers, geologists and scientists from governmental and private organizations, consulting firms, universities, laboratories and construction companies