Dams at Risk: 65-Foot Crack in Washington State Dam

A large crack has been found in the Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River which supports the utility power supply to a major cluster of data centers in central Washington state.


65-Foot Crack Found in Washington State Dam (Feb 25)

The 2-inch-wide crack was found Thursday after divers were sent into the Columbia River because engineers detected a misalignment in a spillway on Wanapum Dam near the central Washington town of Vantage, said Tom Stredwick, a spokesman for the Grant County Public Utility District.

The Wanapum Dam generates more than 1,000 megawatts of electricity for the Grant County PUD, the utility that provides electricity to major data centers operated by Microsoft, Yahoo, Dell, Sabey Data Centers and Vantage Data Centers.

On February 25, dam officials noticed an irregular bowing of the dam near a section of a spillgate pier along the mile-long structure. Divers examined the area Thursday and discovered a two-inch wide crack running horizontally, located about 75 feet below the water’s surface. It runs the entire width of the 65-foot-wide pier.

The risk of a failure of the dam is high enough that the county has initiated an emergency plan. To relieve pressure on the dam, the water level is being lowered by 20 feet.




Owen Falls Dam in Uganda Falling Apart (Feb 28)
The Owen Falls dam in Jinja could cave in, if the cracks and damage to the dam are not repaired, an official of Eskom, the hydro power generation company, has said.

Huge cracks continue to develop in the walls and supporting pillars of the dam. Water continuously sips through the gaping holes, expanding the cracks and making the dam weaker by the day.




Lake Manatee Dam at Risk of Collapse (Feb 14)

The Lake Manatee Dam in Bradeton, Florida is in a "severely distressed state" because of erosion, engineering consultants have found, forcing county officials to take corrective actions.

Heavy rains over four or five days could compromise the Lake Manatee Dam, Manatee County government warned in a news release February 14.

As a precaution, workers have begun to lower the water level of the lake.

Engineers and officials are concerned that the dam's clay core may have been compromised.





Water Gushes over Crumbling Dam in Zimbabwe (Feb 9)

A dam on the Tokwe river in the Masvingo area of Zimbabwe is close to bursting as water from heavy rains finding its way through gaps in the uncompleted dam wall.

Construction of the Tokwe Mukorsi dam began in 1998 but stalled in 2008. The dam was due to be completed at the end of last year but the deadline has passed with construction still not finished. Pictures from the area show water gushing through breaks in the wall and a huge build up of water in the reservoir behind it. Villagers have been evacuated as quickly as possible, with around 4,000 people believed to be at risk should the dam burst.

According to the Daily News, the Zimbabwe Air Force is helping people evacuate. The Minister for Masvingo province is quoted as saying that the government is on high alert and "A helicopter from the AFZ has been airlifting some families who were marooned by the floods but we are not yet sure how many people are still marooned."



"All dams will break either during the pole shift or in the months leading up to the hour of the shift. Look at the structure of the dam! It assumes that rock holding both sides of the dam will remain in place and not move. Of course these sides will move. This is a subduction zone! There is mountain building and even where the mountains are not being pushed upward, they are moving from side to side. Some parts are more fluid than others, which are more resistant during any earthquake thrust, so there IS inevitably movement to the side. They will pull apart, slide forward or backwards, but in any case the water will find its way around the dam." 

ZetaTalk Chat Q&A: July 18, 2009

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Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on Sunday


Dam collapse destroys 10000ha of cropland at Shonir Haor

Post by: Joy | Published: , 6:08 pm | Category: Countrywide

23 April 2017, Nirapad News; Around 10,000 hectares of cropland has been destroyed as part of the dam at Shonir Haor in Tahirpur upazila collapsed early on Sunday.

The embankment collapsed around 1.00am due to increased water level in the haor, said upazila chairman Kamruzzaman Kamrul.

Incessant rainfall paired with water flowing down from the upstream hilly areas increased the water level on the hoar, said the chairman.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 12, 2017 at 12:10am


Tuesday, 11 April 2017 00:00

Dam collapse in Paraguay causes major flooding

Dam collapse in Paraguay causes major flooding (video) Credits: The Watchers

The dam of San Benito Lake in Paraguay's Itapúa department breached on April 9, 2017, leading to a major flash flooding event, that broke the Graneros del Sur road in two.

Authorities said there were no casualties, but the flooding caused major infrastructural damage. It seems that the collapse occurred as a result of the rupture of the dam, caused by the immense flow of water that fell during the heavy rainfall that began the previous day.

The dam was used by San Benito agricultural school for electricity but was abandoned for a long time. According to locals, the water levels in San Benito Lake were low for the past 30 years, before the recent extremely heavy rains that hit tha country. The Ministry of Public Works and Communications stated that the dam administrators should have opened the floodgate to release the water.

This was one of three flash flood events in the south of Paraguay that occurred after the heavy rains of Saturday, April 8. The overflow of two more streams also caused significant damage in nearby regions, though luckily no casualties.


Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on February 20, 2017 at 2:37am


Seven killed as dam bursts in Iran

TEHRAN: Iranian state media reported that he was among at least seven people killed as floods, avalanches and dust storms gripped the country.

A 40-year-old man was swept away while taking a photograph beside a river swollen by the breach of an  earthen dam near the southeastern city of Jiroft, a Red Crescent official told Iranian media.

His body has yet to be recovered.

The dam burst flooded parts of Jiroft, damaging dozens of homes. A second man was killed in a flash flood in the southwestern province of Bushehr.

The torrential rain caused flooding across the south, from Khuzestan province on the Iraqi border to Sistan-Baluchistan province on the border with Pakistan.

Thousands fled villages downstream from dams fearing collapses like that in Jiroft.

In the north, at least five people have been killed in avalanches over the past two weeks as up to two metres (more than six feet) of snow fell in the Zagros and Alborz mountains.

Hundreds of villages were cut off in the provinces of Kurdistan, East Azerbaijan and Gilan.

Even as downpours gripped much of the south, residents of some areas near the Iraqi border were praying for rain as some of the worst dust storms in years sent hundreds to hospital with respiratory problems.

Photographs shared on social media showed cars, kitchens and furniture caked in thick dust beneath an orange sky.

The dust level in the air was 18 times the normal levels, officials in Khuzestan province said.

Long power cuts hit the cities of Ahvaz, Khoramshahr and Abadan as the combination of the dust and up to 98 percent humidity played havoc with the electricity grid.

In Ahvaz, residents held demonstrations calling for government assistance. Several artists and celebrities launched a solidarity campaign on social media.

Some 50 members of parliament have also written to President Hassan Rouhani in support of the campaign.

Freak weather has swept though much of the Gulf, normally renowned for its deserts and searing heat. Snow fell in the hills of the United Arab Emirates as high winds forced the cancellation of a stage of cycling's Tour of Dubai.

This week torrential train disrupted every day of the Qatar Open women's tennis tournament.

The seasonal dust storms in southwest Iran have been intensifying for years as prolonged drought has triggered increasing desertification, not just in Iran but also in neighbouring Iraq and in Saudi Arabia beyond.

Khuzestan province hosts many of Iran's largest oil fields but its large ethnic Arab community has long complained that the government has not invested enough in infrastructure or measures to tackle chronic air pollution.

Comment by Howard on February 13, 2017 at 2:56am

Evacuations Ordered, Oroville Dam Spillway Collapse Imminent (Feb 12)

An immediate evacuation has been ordered late Sunday afternoon for areas downstream from the Oroville Dam after use of the structure’s emergency spillway was on the verge of collapse because of severe erosion, according to authorities.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Department issued the evacuation order after the hazardous situation developed. Authorities are concerned the erosion could lead to the failure of the Oroville Dam.

Failure of the auxiliary spillway structure will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville.

The National Weather Service said at about 4:45 p.m. that officials anticipate a failure of the auxiliary spillway in the next 60 minutes.

Residents of Oroville should evacuate in a northward direction such as towards Chico, National Weather Service officials said. Other cities should follow the orders of their local law enforcement.




Comment by KM on February 12, 2017 at 12:16am


Anderson Reservoir Is So Full Of Water That It’s Seismically Unsafe

South Bay water officials are urgently trying to lower a reservoir to reduce pressure on a shaky dam. 

The Anderson Reservoir in Morgan Hill is just a couple of miles east of U.S. Highway 101. 

The dam is especially vulnerable right now if an earthquake happens to strike. 

Water gushes from the bottom of the Anderson Dam. The release valve is wide open and crowds are coming to see what looks like a water show. 

Sean Barragan, of Morgan Hill, said, "It's pretty awesome. It's not a thing you see every day." 

But it's not just for show. 

The water district is trying to quickly lower the level of the reservoir, because it's not seismically safe to be as full as it is now. 

A 2009 study found a large earthquake next to the dam could cause a failure. 

Since then state regulators placed a cap on the dam at 68 percent of capacity. 

But the recent rains have boosted the level to 91 percent of capacity. 

In the drought it was never an issue, but it is now. 

Marty Grimes, with the Santa Clara Valley Water District said, "It's a very remote possibility that we would have an earthquake of such a magnitude that close to the reservoir. That's what we're hoping against. That's what we're planning for and that's why we have a project to rehabilitate the reservoir." 

Monitors have been placed around the dam to monitor any movement. But retrofitting the dam is still years away. 

Morgan Hill residents have been marveling about how quickly water levels rose, but they worry about a quake and what could happen. 

Neighbor Janey Pedrizetti said, "They say that Morgan Hill will be under two feet of water. So let's hope that never happens."

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on February 11, 2017 at 7:47am



Nevada dam collapse leads to dangerous flash flooding in Elko County near Utah border

ELKO COUNTY, Nevada, Feb 8. 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Soaking rains combined with heavy run-off from melting snowpacks led to a dam breach in northeastern Nevada Wednesday, flooding roads and low-lying areas in what the National Weather Service called “a life-threatening situation.”

A large swath of the 21-Mile-Dam located in Elko County, 35 miles northeast of Wells, Nev., gave way late Wednesday afternoon, sending a wall of water rushing downstream, washing out roads and flooding range lands before swamping the area known as Gamble Ranch and the nearby town of Montello.

Flood waters threaten the U.S. Post Office in the town of Montello, Nevada, Feb. 8, 2017. Photo: Evelyn Smith Cook

The widespread flooding closed traffic on State Route 223. It also brought a halt to train traffic on the rail lines used by Union Pacific.

Elko County Sheriff Jim Pitts told the media flooding in the area was the worst he has seen in more than three decades.

The National Weather Service in Elko predicted more rain overnight and into Thursday morning.

The NWS forecast came with a warning to motorists, saying that in the event of continued flash flooding, “Do not drive through flooded roadways and seek higher ground immediately. Due to uncertainty in how the flood wave will progress, it is strongly recommended to stay away from the area.”

another link:


Flash flood warnings after dam break in northeast Nevada

Flash flood warnings after dam break in northeast Nevada (CNN Van Video)

MONTELLO, Nev. - No injuries were reported after a dam broke Wednesday, sending rushing water three feet deep to communities downstream.

Twentyone Mile Dam in Elko County, Nev. had emergency crews warning residents to seek higher ground.

It's unclear what led to the break.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on February 10, 2017 at 6:20am

Crisis escalated


With Oroville Spillway Damage Spreading, Officials Prepare for Reservoir to Overflow

Update, 7:15 p.m. Thursday: The situation surrounding the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam has escalated into a crisis, with state water managers hoping they can dump enough water down the badly compromised structure to prevent the state’s second-largest reservoir from pouring over an emergency release point that has never been used before.

Flow rates down the collapsing spillway were increased late Thursday morning to 35,000 cubic feet per second. The result was a spectacle of churning mud and water and the further damage to the concrete structure.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on February 8, 2017 at 11:33pm


Engineers Assess Spillway Damage at Oroville Dam

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on December 2, 2016 at 1:31am


1 December 2016, 11:06 AM

Major dam was drained to avert catastrophic collapse

Santo Domingo.- The Water Observatory revealed Wednesday that Tavera dam (central) was on the verge of collapse with the ensuing threat to lives and property if not for the decision to release water and lower its level several times.

Observatory technicians said Tavera's collapse would've placed  the lives of people at risk and would've led to large-scale losses of cattle and other damages along the Yaque del Sur river.

It said as much as 500 cubic meters per second was discharged from the dam back to the Yaque river, which caused flooding in Santiago, Valverde and Montecristi.

"If it were not for the correct application of the new protocol of draining the Tavera dam that was in imminent danger of collapsing and putting at risk the life of the people who reside in areas around the dam, as well as high scale losses to cattle," the agency said in a statement.

Tavera dam, whose operating capacity ceiling is 327 meters above sea level, was operating at its maximum capacity during several days for the first time since inaugurated in 1972, as the torrential rains drenched the Yaque and Jimenoa river basins.

and another:


Op-Ed: A clear and present danger of Kariba Dam collapse


Photo: Kariba Dam, by Joe McKenna via Flickr.

Photo: Kariba Dam, by Joe McKenna via Flickr.

Several decades on, the much heralded Kariba Dam is in big trouble, even facing possible collapse, with potentially catastrophic consequences. By CHISTOPHER GILMOUR.

Zambia and Zimbabwe currently derive the bulk of their electricity supplies from hydroelectric dams on the Zambezi and other rivers in the region. The drought has resulted in prolonged low water levels in the dams, which has resulted in sustained blackouts in Zambia for upwards of eight hours per day in recent times.

Provided the rains return, electricity supplies should normalise. But a far greater potential danger exists. The region’s largest hydroelectric dam – Kariba – has developed some extremely serious flaws during its 50-plus years of existence and some observers have even suggested that the dam is in grave danger of collapse, with the attendant catastrophic consequences. Currently at 18% full, Kariba hit a recent low point of around 12% in January 2016.

The Kariba Dam on the Zambezi, between Zambia and Zimbabwe, was designed and constructed just before and after the end of British colonial rule in Africa. Designed by Coyne et Bellier of France and constructed by Salini Impreglio of Italy in two main phases between 1956 and 1977, the dam was financed by the World Bank. This was the heyday of the Zambian Copperbelt activities near Ndola in the north of the country and sustained electrical supply was critical to ensuring the smooth operation of the copper industry. At the time, Kariba was one of the largest hydroelectric power stations in the world in terms of its power output, though today it doesn’t even come close to being in the top 20.

Serious and unexpected flooding in the Zambezi Valley during 1957 and 1958 led the designer and constructors to deviate from the original plan for the dam insofar as they decided to install six sluice gates rather than three, to accommodate hitherto unheard of water levels. This action may have inadvertently resulted in serious design flaws that only manifested themselves years later.

The scouring action of the spillways has, over time, resulted in a 90-metre deep “plunge pool” being formed in front of the dam wall. This canyon is now only about 30 metres away from the dam’s foundations and, if left unchecked, threatens to undermine those very foundations.

The erosion problem was first identified as early as 1962, after only three years of operation. At that time, the plunge pool was around 30m wide but by the 1980s it had more than doubled in size. Since the 1990s, only three of the six floodgates have been allowed to be opened at any point in time, thus limiting the scouring impact of the spillway. This action appears to have resulted in no further erosion of the plunge pool. Of course, this is a mixed blessing, as it has meant that average water levels in the dam have required to be kept lower than they otherwise would have been, resulting in lower amounts of electricity generating capacity.

A less pressing problem is that the concrete surrounding the floodgates has swelled over the years, inhibiting the ability of the dam to rid itself of excess water during times of flood. Of course, this is not a problem at all currently, due to the average dam level of the past two years only being 18%.

The World Bank has organised syndicated funding of almost $300-million to rehabilitate the dam. This would involve reshaping the floor of the plunge pool so that spillway water no longer splashes back towards the dam wall. It also involves rebuilding the six sluice gates. The estimated repair time for the reshaping of the plunge pool is three years, with the sluice repairs taking eight years. Notwithstanding the very low dam level, work can only be carried out during the dry winter season each year and cumulative delays so far have meant that reshaping contracts are only due to be awarded in November 2016 and sluice gate contract work only beginning in June 2017.

The World Bank is very confident that Kariba Dam is not in any danger of collapse, a view that is diametrically opposed by the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) and AON South Africa, which issued a report in 2015 written by IRMSA founder member Kay Darbourn that stated that the dam wall would collapse if urgent repair work wasn’t carried out very quickly. The report contained the extremely chilling line, “If nothing is done, the dam will collapse in three years”.

So which body is correct – the World Bank or IRMSA? Although The World Bank seems very confident that the wall won’t collapse, there have been suggestions that the body has been only too happy for scaremongering reports along the lines of IRMSA’s to circulate, as this has helped speed up the notoriously slow process of syndicating the loans required for rehabilitation.

But if IRMSA is correct, the consequences could be devastating. A collapsed Kariba Dam would wreak havoc on human and animal life as the resulting tsunami tore through the Zambezi Valley. The force of water would be so great that it would likely also destroy Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique, 300 miles away.

Under such a doomsday scenario, aside from the loss of animal and human life, electricity production in the southern Africa region would be seriously degraded. Around 40% of southern Africa’s electrical generating capacity (ex-SA) would be gone and the industries that depend on this power, such as mining, would be crippled.

South Africa currently relies on Cahora Bassa to deliver 1,500 megawatts of clean power a day and if that were to be switched off, rolling power cuts could resume in this country. Reconstructing both dams would take up to eight years and during that time the cumulative misery of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people would be incalculable.

Perhaps the last word on this subject should be left to the late South African prime minister John Vorster; in a completely different context, he is credited with coining the phrase “consequences too ghastly to contemplate”. If the World Bank is wrong and Kariba does indeed collapse, the consequences really would be too ghastly to contemplate. 

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on December 1, 2016 at 12:01am


Dam breach affects Mammoth Cave

November 30 2016

MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK — Work crews with Mammoth Cave National Park were out on the Green River on Tuesday, checking the water level.

The water level of the river has fallen due to a new hole in and under the Green River Dam No. 6 near Brownsville, causing lowering water levels in the pool behind it that have backed up into the national park.

“We've had folks out on the river today looking at it,” said Vickie Carson, public information officer for Mammoth Cave National Park. “We're trying to determine what we need to do and how we need to adapt to the river being at a lower level.”

Carson explained that half of the Green River has impounded in the national park.

“It breached sometime over the weekend,” she said.

A Louisville Courier Journal article published Tuesday stated William Michael Turner, chief of environmental resources at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers's Louisville District, said this week that the dam was leaking following a weekend incident Friday night and Saturday morning powered by the river's force on the structure.

Water levels in the river's pool that had backed up into the park dropped nearly 7 feet late Friday and early Saturday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the newspaper article said.

The Corps of Engineers in Louisville issued a press release Tuesday afternoon asking the public to stay out of the area of the dam and off structures, and that recreational boaters and those who canoe to also 

stay clear of the area and not approach the upstream side of the dam.

The vertical lock walls are being undermined, as well as the dam concrete section and are likely to collapse in the near future, the press release said.

The lock and dam was built in 1904-1905 and put into operation in 1906, the press release said.

Officials have been concerned about the lock and dam for quite some time.

“The (National) Park Service and the U.S. Department of Interior have gone on record since 1951 that the lock and dam should be removed to improve the river conditions and conditions in the cave and conditions in the park to return the river to free-flowing conditions,” Carson said.

It is possible the falling water levels could affect the Green River Ferry, which operates within Mammoth Cave National Park, Carson said. Many people living in Edmonson County cross the Green River in the national park so as to avoid driving around the outer boundary of the national park.

The decrease in water levels could also have an effect on cave passageways.

“Right now with the ferry still being able to run that means the river levels in the cave haven't changed very much at this point, but if the river drops further at the upper end of the impoundment then yes, it will have an effect on the cave passageways,” Carson said. “These are things that we are still accessing.”

The lowering of water levels could also affect the mussel population in the river.

“There are more mussel species in the area of the river that is free flowing,” Carson said. “That is above 

the impoundment. There is more free-flowing water now that the river has breached. Free-flowing water is better for mussel species.”

At deadline time Tuesday, Carson had not yet had an opportunity to speak with crews that had been out on the river accessing the situation. She said she hoped to have more information to share on Wednesday.

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