Age of major dams in the United States. Data source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Graphic: The New York Times

By Troy Griggs, Gregor Aisch, and Sarah Almukhtar
23 February 2017

(The New York Times) – 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.

“It’s not like an expiration date for your milk, but the components that make up that dam do have a lifespan.” said Mark Ogden, a project manager with the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. […]

Two weeks ago, heavy rains caused the Twentyone Mile Dam in Nevada to burst, resulting in flooding, damaged property and closed roads throughout the region. […]

Last week, 180,000 people downstream from Oroville Dam in California were evacuated after an emergency spillway showed signs of failing. [more]

America’s Aging Dams Are in Need of Repair



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