Dam Safety

Gates Fail on Big Brazilian Dam

Wednesday, July 5, 2006
A diversion tunnel for recently built dam in Brazil failed during the last week in June, causing an uncontrolled release of the water from the huge upstream reservoir. The failure caused no loss of life and contractors assert that the dam’s main structure is intact, but the event is raising alarms from international environmental groups and sparking concerns about additional delays in the project, which is already well behind schedule. The 626–foot (202–meter) Campos Novos dam in the Santa Catarina region of southern Brazil is the world’s third tallest concrete–fa

Campos Novos Dam Builders Downplay Danger

Severe damage at the base of the Compos Novos Dam
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The controversial 626–foot (202–meter) tall Campos Novos Dam in Southern Brazil suffered an uncontrolled release of water last week, completely emptying the reservoir of the recently completed dam. Aerial photographs released yesterday by Friends of the Earth Brazil show major cracks at the base of the dam, suggesting potentially irreparable damage. Severe damage at the base of the Compos Novos Dam "If this uncontrolled release had happened during the rainy season thousands of people could have been drowned," charged Glenn Switkes, International Rivers Network Latin America

Dam Performance and Safety

Teton Dam fails
Teton Dam fails Dam safety is a huge global concern. While individual dams built today are likely to be much more secure than those built 50 years ago, the global stock of dams as a whole is ageing. Around the world, 5,000 large dams are at least 50 years old; the average US dam is in its 40s. These older dams are highly prone to dam bursts, especially in countries that lack adequate monitoring. As dams get old they become increasingly more expensive to maintain. Worldwide, there is systematic underfunding of dam maintenance. No figures are available for the cost of making the world's dams s

Earthquakes Triggered by Africa's Katse Dam Force Families to Abandon Damaged Village

Katse Dam-triggered earthquake crack in village
Monday, February 10, 1997
Earthquakes caused by the filling of a huge reservoir in the southern African country of Lesotho have terrified local people for more than a year. Houses in seven villages beside the reservoir of Katse Dam have been damaged by tremors, and in the village of Mapeleng, 11 houses were made uninhabitable by the quakes. In late January 1997, twelve families left Mapeleng, abandoning homes which were damaged more than a year ago by earthquakes. Tremors continue to strike the area, according to the World Bank, a project funder. Reservoir–induced seismicity (RIS) is a widely recognized bu


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