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Frankly My Dear I Don’t Give A Dam: America’s Problematic Water Infrastructure

water infrastructureThe United States has a dam problem. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, more than 4,095 dams in the U.S. were deemed “unsafe.” What’s more, over a third of the nation’s dam failures since 1874 have occurred in the last 10 years alone.

By 2020, approximately 70% of U.S. dams will be over the age of 50. And unfortunately, the U.S. will need more than wrinkle cream to keep these feats of water infrastructure from causing damage.

Why are America’s dams in such a problematic state?
Dams are constructed or destroyed for public safety, flood control, job creation, and water storage efficiency. Unfortunately, these types of water infrastructure also require maintenance and upkeep to keep them in shape for safety purposes.

However, the U.S. would need to spend billions of dollars on water infrastructure for dams to ensure their proper function. The estimated cost to rehabilitate America’s dams in 2016 was as high as $60 billion. An additional $20 billion would need to be spent for future repair by civil engineer services on dams with serious safety hazards.

How do we prevent dam disasters?
To prevent disasters and flooding, approximately 1,384 dams have been razed in the U.S. between 1912 and 2016. This is because dams can pose a hazard themselves by blocking a river with a growing reservoir.

Dams also cause sediment to build up. This sediment eats away at reservoir storage at the same rate that the sun evaporates water from the reservoir.

These problems often go hand-in-hand with neglect. Neglect is a dangerous thing, especially when it comes to dams. Neglected U.S. dams can develop rot, leaks, cracks, and worst of all total failure. Dam failure can destroy towns.

To properly prevent dam disaster, watershed management through civil engineering structural design must be used. Proper funding, as well as the right civil engineer services, can perhaps stabilize U.S. dams and make them more eco-friendly.

Civil engineering management is necessary to ensure your project’s design and construction goes right from the get-go. For more information on civil engineering firms, contact one of the top engineering consulting companies at ACI Corporation today.