Dams

A worker walks down the damaged roadway near the Oroville Dam emergency spillway. The California Department of Water Resources continues to examine and repair the erosion with more than 125 construction crews working around the clock. Photo: Brian Baer/ California Department of Water Resources

Oroville Dam Crisis is a Call to Action on U.S. Water Infrastructure

Columbia Water Center director Upmanu Lall suggests that we see the Oroville crisis as a call to action to evaluate and address the challenges facing the nation’s dam infrastructure.

by |February 20, 2017
Hoover Dam. Photo: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Dammed Funding for U.S. Dams

Across the nation, large-scale water infrastructure such as dams have provided a multitude of services, from electric power and water reservoirs to flood control and containment of pollution. But federal investments in large water infrastructure projects have largely been curtailed over the past few decades.

by |October 12, 2016
Map of hazards data points

Mapping Tool Lets Users Pinpoint Hazards Data

The SEDAC Hazards Mapper is designed for disaster risk managers, humanitarian response organizations, public health professionals, journalists and others needing a quick assessment of the potential dangers posed by a major hazardous event or developing emergency.

display at Three Gorges Dam Museum in Chongqing

Mekong Delta and Three Gorges Dam: World’s First Climate Change Resettlements?

Many resettlers are economically better off, but the dislocations remain significant, especially for older resettlers, who have a harder time getting work in the newly developed industrial sector. Although the plight of some resettlers has been quite difficult (one older man competed fiercely to serve as a porter for us for the royal sum of $6), and there are stories of suicide in some resettler communities, it is hard to separate the problems they face from the larger dislocations that are so prevalent in 21st century China.

by |March 6, 2014
Teton Dam, in Southeastern Idaho, collapsed on May 5, 1976, killing 14 people. Photo courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Safety Be Dammed: High-Risk Dams on the Rise

In the still hours just before midnight on March 12, 1928, thousands of people slumbered in the handful of agricultural communities nestled along the Santa Clara River in Ventura County, California. Tony Harnischfeger and his family slept quietly in a small house at the foot of the St. Francis Dam, a 195-foot high concrete gravity… read more

by |September 9, 2011
Fish ladder at the John Day Dam on the Columbia River

Removing Dams and Restoring Rivers

On Sept. 17, 2011, the removal of two large hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River in Washington State, which have blocked migrating salmon from reaching their spawning grounds for almost 100 years, will begin. While this is the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, it is just one of several major dam removals planned for this year that exemplify the growing river restoration movement.

by |August 29, 2011
The Three Gorges Dam from the air. Photo credit: Euclid vanderKroew

The Push to Dam China’s Rivers

China already has half the world’s large hydroelectric dams (25,800), but along the Yangtze River and its tributaries, 100 large dams are either being planned or built and 43 additional dams are in the works.

by |May 19, 2011

Water and Energy Conflict in Central Asia

Water resources management in the Central Asia region faces formidable challenges. The hydrological regimes of the two major rivers in the region, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya, are complex and vulnerable to climate change. Water diversions to agricultural, industrial and domestic users have reduced flows in downstream regions, resulting in severe ecological damages…. read more

by |August 18, 2009