Feb 23, 2017

America’s Aging Dams Are in Need of Repair

Oroville, CA
USA
by
Troy Griggs, Gregor Aisch and Sarah Almukhtar
,
New York Times
After the Twentyone Mile Dam in northern Nevada burst this month, floods forced delays or rerouting for more than a dozen freight and passenger trains on a main rail line that runs through the area. Photo: Stuart Johnson/The Deseret News, via Associated Press
After the Twentyone Mile Dam in northern Nevada burst this month, floods forced delays or rerouting for more than a dozen freight and passenger trains on a main rail line that runs through the area. Photo: Stuart Johnson/The Deseret News, via Associated Press

After two weeks that saw evacuations near Oroville, Calif., and flooding in Elko County, Nev., America’s dams are showing their age.

Nearly 2,000 state-regulated high-hazard dams in the United States were listed as being in need of repair in 2015, according to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. A dam is considered “high hazard” based on the potential for the loss of life as a result of failure.

By 2020, 70 percent of the dams in the United States will be more than 50 years old, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

...

In 2016, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials estimated that it would cost $60 billion to rehabilitate all the dams that needed to be brought up to safe condition, with nearly $20 billion of that sum going toward repair of dams with a high potential for hazard.