50 years after the San Fernando-Sylmar earthquake, aging dams face new peril: extreme weather conditions

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be out of date. Please look at the history’s timestamp to see when it was last updated.

It was a heartbreaking vision of the vulnerability of aging California dams – crews working feverishly to put sandbags and drain the lower San Fernando reservoir, as billions of gallons of drinking water from Los Angeles flowed through. edge of a crumbling and earthquake damaged embankment that threatened disaster on the neighborhoods below.

Although the 1971 San Fernando earthquake and the near-failure of the Lower Van Norman Dam resulted in construction improvements – the much newer Los Angeles Dam survived an equivalent tremor in the Northridge earthquake of 1994 – the overwhelming majority of dams in California are decades beyond their design. lifetime.

And while earthquakes continue to pose the greatest threat to California’s huge collection of dams, experts warn these aging structures will be even more threatened by a new emerging danger: the “dramatic changes” in extreme weather conditions due to them. to climate change.

“The biggest problem facing dam safety in California is aging infrastructure and the lack of money to fund dam repairs and renovations,” said Sharon K. Tapia, who heads the Safety Division. dams at the California Department of Water Resources. “Many older dams were built using construction methods considered outdated by current standards. “

Read the full story on LATimes.com.


Source link

Back To Top