A Rapid Assessment of Dam Inventory – Lessons Learned from Two Category 4 Hurricanes Impacting Puerto Rico
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
2 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EDT
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Nearly 70 percent of the dams in the US were built prior to 1975. Since that time, the engineering and statistical means for predicting design storms (i.e., rainfall, hydrology, and hydraulic routing) have changed drastically. It’s alarming to consider just how many dams may not be expected to withstand the extreme weather events of today given the catastrophic damage and loss of life that can occur from just one dam failure. Moreover, the condition of the dams throughout the nation is rated “D” on a scorecard from “A-F” by ASCE. In Puerto Rico, the average age of the dam inventory is over 60 years old. In early September 2017, when Hurricane Irma and Maria made landfall in quick succession, 36 dams spread across the island became 36 potential areas for disaster. The heavy rainfall from these two category 4 hurricanes covered vast expanses of the island and brought forth a new challenge to emergency managers: where do you focus response efforts and resources when there are so many areas at risk at once?
Bill Nechamen, email@example.com