April 23, 2014--Are large dams economical? (Ecologist)

A study of 245 large dams carried out at Oxford University shows that big hydropower is uneconomic. Actual costs are typically double pre-construction estimates - and have not improved over 70 years. Researchers at Oxford University have found that planners and policymakers systematically underestimate the costs and time required to implement large dam projects.

January 31, 2014--California drought produces thirst for water – and political solutions (Merced Sun Star)

Big dams, bitter feuds and some political bombshells surface in a California water bill slated for lickety-split House approval next week. One new dam would be authorized for the Upper San Joaquin River. Another would get a green light to store Sacramento River water at a new Sites Reservoir. The existing Shasta Dam, already the state’s seventh largest, could grow taller.

November 17, 2013--Dams, diversion damage lingers (Pueblo Chieftain)

The state is working on repairing a projected $2 billion damage to infrastructure caused by flooding in September. While roads, homes and other buildings were lost to raging waters, mainly in the northern part of the state, there was also severe damage to water structures.

October 17, 2013--New Mexicans call for conservation over river diversions (National Geographic)

The western United States was settled with the help of big dams and river diversions that delivered distant water to burgeoning cities and farms, but at least one state is saying it’s time to shift gears. In a resounding voice of support for river protection, 85 percent of New Mexico residents say they want officials to address the state’s water problems through conservation, r

September 27, 2013--Can dams help buffer global warming impacts? (Summit Voice)

For all the environmental mayhem they’ve caused in the past, dams may help buffer some aquatic ecosystems from future global warming impacts, according to a new study from Oregon State University. Specifically, the researchers said dams could provide “ecological and engineering resilience” to climate change in the Columbia River basin.

September 23, 2013--Colorado launching massive emergency dam inspection progam (Denver Post)

Colorado is undertaking the largest emergency dam inspection program in state history, seeking to check 200 dams in 10 days, mostly along the South Platte River and its tributaries. All of Colorado's high-hazard dams, which likely would kill people if they fail, withstood the recent record rainfall.

June 18, 2013--Dams, the whole picture (Environmental News Network)

Dams are good for hydroelectric power. But just like figuring how to reduce waste or improve energy efficiency, one has to look at the whole picture and all of the potential media effects.

June 10, 2013--Extreme weather raises dam safety concerns (USA Today)

The severe weather that's walloped parts of the country in recent years has focused new attention on states' vulnerability to storm surges and inland flooding. Billions in federal, state, local and private money is being spent to upgrade infrastructure, homes and businesses damaged by tropical storms, hurricanes and tornadoes.

May 8, 2013--Water infrastructure bill heading to senate floor (Water World)

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2013 (S. 601) is expected to hit the U.S. Senate floor this week. Despite breezing through committee by a unanimous vote, the legislation may face opposition by lawmakers who do not understand the value of water infrastructure investment and those wishing to tack on non-germane amendments.

U.S. Dams

Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees (also known as dikes) are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. The average age of the 84,000 dams in the U.S. is 52 years old. The nation’s dams are aging and the number of high-hazard dams is on the rise. Many of these dams were built as low-hazard dams protecting undeveloped agricultural land. Both are in sad shape and rated a D for dams and a D- for levees by the American Society of Civil Engineers who are the engineers who build them. If they go, homes and vast stretches of land will be flooded and the environment literally drenched.

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