Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering

Dams Safety: the Question of Removing Old Dams

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  • Abstract


    Many old dams in the world today may not be safe enough and represent threats to the communities they serve. They have reached the end of their technical and economic lives making upgrading them questionable. This raises the question of decommissioning or removing them open for further discussion. In this paper the issues related to keeping old dams are discussed showing with one example that the soaring costs of upgrades make it impossible to perform for countries with limited resources without outside financial support. An explanation is also given to show how even in rich countries this is met by budgeting obstacles. Other objections to the presence of these dams, added to the safety question which support of damís removal are discussed. They include the accumulated damage they have caused to the ecosystems such as siltation and fish migration. An emphasis is put on the need for intensive studies required before removing any such dam in order to mitigate any negative impact subsequent to such removal; and many actual examples are given to illustrate this.


    Keywords: Upgrading, Decommissioning, Dam Safety, Ecosystem, Siltation, Fish Migration.