Dam Safety

Fatalities as Northeast Brazilian Dam Bursts

Cocal, Brazilian City Flooded after Algodões I Dam Burst
Cocal, Brazilian City Flooded after Algodões I Dam Burst TV Canal 13 Algodões Dam in northeast Brazil, weakened by weeks of heavy rains, burst yesterday afternoon, leaving the city of Cocal da Estação, with 30,000 inhabitants, under 20 meters of water. At least six people have reportedly been drowned, and 500 homes destroyed. According to the state government of Piauí, a 50-meter hole opened in the dam. The city had been affected by flooding caused by the dam's leaking over the past month, but about 10,000 people had begun to return to their homes last week, after the e

Dam Failures in Indonesia and China Reveal Growing Safety Problem

Rescue efforts near Jakarta are difficult in the thick mud
Rescue efforts near Jakarta are difficult in the thick mud BBC News On Friday, March 27th at around 2 AM local time, an old, poorly maintained 16-meter high dam burst, sending a flash flood through a densely populated neighborhood southwest of Jakarta (see photos and video footage). Since most people were still asleep, many became trapped amidst the mud and debris. The death toll had risen to 100 people, with hundreds more missing, according to the latest news reports. Scientists on Tuesday said the absence of early detection and warning systems for the Situ Gintung dam was to blame for the

A Faultline Runs Through It: Exposing the Hidden Dangers of Dam-Induced Earthquakes

Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Besides posing a major risk to dams, scientists are increasingly certain that earthquakes can be triggered by the dams themselves. Globally, scientists believe that there are over 100 instances, strewn over six continents, of dam reservoirs inducing earthquakes. The most serious case could be the magnitude-7.9 Sichuan earthquake in China in May 2008, which some experts believe may have been induced by the Zipingpu Dam. Download the factsheet for more information on Reservoir-Induced Seismicity, including key case studies of potential RIS sites, quotes from leading seismologists, and a list of

Google Earth Map of Global RIS Sites

Click on the virtual push pins below for more information on known or suspected RIS sites. View Global Suspected RIS Sites in a larger map

US President says Chinese Communist Party May Not Survive Dam Burst Scandal

No, Obama didn’t just wade into the controversy over whether the disastrous 2008 Sichuan earthquake was triggered by Zipingpu Dam. The headline above is based on a future scenario described in the US National Intelligence Council’s “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World.” The NIC imagines the US President writing in his diary on October 1, 2020 about a series of recent catastrophes caused by climate change. She (or maybe he) relates that 100,000 people “perished in the recent dam disaster” in China. The President believes that this may be “the straw that breaks the [Chines

Debunking the Debunkers: Dams Really Can Trigger Quakes

Microseismicity in an exploited reservoir for an oil field
Microseismicity in an exploited reservoir for an oil field NORSAR Amid the recent hubbub surrounding whether Zipingpu Dam may have triggered the disastrous Sichuan earthquake in May 2008, it's important to clear up a few misconceptions about Reservoir-Induced Seismicity (RIS): 1.No convincing correlation has yet been demonstrated between earthquakes and reservoirs. False. While scientists lack comprehensive data to conclusively link earthquakes to dams in some potential RIS cases, in a number of other cases with careful RIS studies, a definite cause-and-effect relationship has

Dam Safety Evaluation of Zambezi Dams

Saturday, April 1, 2000
A report by the US Army Corps based on results of a site visit to determine the safety of three large dams on the Zambezi (Kariba, Cahora Bassa, Kafue) after severe floods in 2000.

Kariba Dam Safety Concerns

Kariba Dam
Friday, February 13, 2009
The 128-meter-high Kariba Dam is one of Africa’s biggest. Operated by the Zambezi River Authority on behalf of Zimbabwe and Zambia, it has been a cause for concern on a number of safety issues, including from its earliest days when the filling of its reservoir caused earthquakes, to more recent times when rumors began to surface that the huge dam had structural problems and suffered from poor maintenance. Kariba has also worsened the region's floods in recent years. Earthquakes Kariba Dam The filling of what was then the world's largest reservoir was followed by considerable

Possible Link Between Dam and China Quake

Thursday, February 5, 2009
Originally published in The New York Times BEIJING - Nearly nine months after a devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, left 80,000 people dead or missing, a growing number of American and Chinese scientists are suggesting that the calamity was triggered by a four-year-old reservoir built close to the earthquake's geological fault line. A Columbia University scientist who studied the quake has said that it may have been triggered by the weight of 320 million tons of water in the Zipingpu Reservoir less than a mile from a well-known major fault. His conclusions, presented to the Ame

Dam Safety in Southern Africa: Will the Walls Come Tumbling Down?

Kariba Faults
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The Mozambican NGO, JA-Justica Ambiental released the following statement on the dam safety in Southern African region for the Day of Action for Rivers, Water and Life in 2006. As a developing country, Mozambique, and the whole Southern African region, has a growing demand for electricity. Given Mozambique’s hydroelectric potential, much interest has been shown in building more dams on some of the country’s large rivers. The project that has been most keenly examined is the Mphanda Nkuwa Dam, proposed for the lower Zambezi about midway between the City of Tete and the existing Cahora B


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