When The Dam Cracks: "There Are 80,000 US Dams, With An Average Age Of 52"

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Stratfor,

In his joint address to Congress, U.S. President Donald Trump touted a $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan as a means to stimulate the economy while constructing, if not rebuilding outright, crucial projects around the country. Trump later met with U.S. business leaders on March 8 seeking support from the private sector for the plan. It is key to implementing the administration's infrastructure goals, primarily as a way to keep costs revenue neutral, so the federal government does not have to increase spending. Specifically, some locks and dams are on the president's priority list. A handful of projects, however, is only a drop in the bucket of aging, in some cases cracking, U.S. water systems.

Officials have been asked to identify new and existing projects that need to be completed in general. The National Governors Association has already presented a list of more than 400 "shovel ready" projects. While details remain scarce, it appears the strategy is to have the private sector fund the majority of any planned projects, using federal funds only when necessary. But relying on the private sector will inevitably skew the infrastructure initiative toward projects that have a better potential for financial returns, such as ports, airports and toll roads.

Meanwhile, there are more than 80,000 dams in the United States, with an average age of 52 years.

The suburban sprawl and growing populations have also put more people downstream of dams that once only served agricultural land, increasing the risk to human life should one fail. California, Colorado, the Northeast and the Rust Belt are just some of the areas where the most high-risk dams and the oldest dams overlap. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that more than 4,000 of these dams are in need of repairs, costing an estimated $21 billion. With the Trump administration set on having the private sector lead construction efforts, there likely won't be the same interest, if any, in investing in many of these types of projects, making it more difficult to fund dam and other water infrastructure.

All of this is happening just a month after a near collapse of the Oroville Dam in northern California. Heavy rains throughout the winter have taken much of the state out of severe drought, but have also stretched some reservoirs to capacity. At the Oroville Dam, failure of the main spillway required the use of an emergency earthen spillway, which quickly began eroding.

While disaster was avoided this time, it illustrates the urgent need for investment in the nation's dilapidated water systems — an area where interest from private investors can be hard to come by.

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robertocarlos's picture

Just build 400 replacement dams every yrear and in 200 years they will have all been rebuilt. That's like one a day.

silverer's picture

Well, I'll be un-dammed. Obama blew 11 trillion dollars, and didn't fix a single one.

One Solution's picture

Oroville is still a very high risk to fail before the spring thaw reaches its peak

ironmace's picture

When the levee breaks, mama you got to move..whooooooo

Led Zep, they were prophets.

SRV's picture

New Orleans is Sinking... 1989 Tragically Hip (the best band on the planet you've never heard of) 


Dougs Decks's picture

And the words of the prophets, were written on the subway walls,,,

BetterRalph's picture

In my GOLDEN State of California, a Candidate is going to want to have a knowledge of State and Federal Water Projects, and their funding, and their issues. Like Delta Tunnels, little delta smelt fish, etc. You know engineers at Beaureo of Reclamation, USACE who you know and talk with regularly and are your friends and so you stay informed and up to date. You can do this better than DORIS, Box-head, pig-losi and fine-stink put together because you are not busy with AGENDA 2030 trying to create artificial scarcity

shovelhead's picture

I'll bet that's worse than Mogen David 20/20.

Must be some serious doom.

BetterRalph's picture

I don't drink. I've met engineers though. Hopefully a NEW senator will take their place and make this state solid like it sure the hell ought to be.

Golden Showers's picture

So we have a bunch of shitty fucking dams and can't even build a "Roman Aquaduct".

The peninsula living idiots of Michigan can't find fresh water.

A private bank controls the currency of the United States.

People on Earth don't really know if the planet is round or flat or what year it is, whether it's warmer or cooler. But most people know what Facebook is.

That beutiful still water of Narcissus flowers is our mirror of ourselves. In it we are all the more strong, proud, complete, educated, human, and just. Engineers think by puffing up water behind a concrete wall that their image and usefullness is that much deeper.

I have never, ever, ever ever ever seen engineers deconstruct a dam. Please tell me if you have.

"Ok, this dam, here, it's no good so we need to take it down and move it over here..."

But when you look at dead waterways on the face of the earth there's dams all over the motherfucker but no water. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgRAni-dFOk

If humans can't accomplish what a beaver can do then how do you think a fucking college education is going to make you?

Straight up. If the human race was wiped out for being a bunch of ignorant, presumptive, self loving whores... I'm human and I say GOOD. Let it be what it is: a failure. Planet is great. Earth and Nature, flora and fauna and the physics and all that shit is tight. However, I almost feel at the end of the day there is some Narcissus dreaming paid sleeping unenlightened stupid fucking engineer who on his best night dreamed of building a some piece of shit like Orovile or Fukushima and got paid to not follow through and either they are my best friends or the dumbest ignorant self absorbed asshole primate weak link college retarded shit that ever was pussed out of the dirty wound of human kind on this, this, beer pong planet we call a world.

Only a person with a morality can say "fuck you" to anyone. Only a narcissistic piece of shit psychopath would say fuck you to everyone.

BetterRalph's picture

sometimes they don't have to take DOWN a dam to cause a lot of damn problems. Take the water meters in California, ask the engineers about why we need those for. Answer: we don't.
I know it don't help fix your rotten leadership problems in Michigan. Leaders play games sometimes.

Dorado's picture


The states are responsible for their infrastructure.  Let them deal with it.  The insinuation is that every dam is like Oroville which of course is not the case.  Big government can shove their scare tactics.

moorewasthebestbond's picture

Stratfor rears it's ugly head once again.

uhland62's picture

Time for an influence operation by Rand. 

short screwed's picture

I think I'd probably rather live below a dam built in the 1920's than one built in the 1950's. I'd definitely rather live below a dam built in the 20's instead of one built in the 1980's. The workmanship and materials were superior back then

dog breath's picture

Age is irrevalent.  Maintenance is the important thing. 

Also, our crumbling infrastructure is not so crumbling as the media, construction industry, and goverment wants to portray.  They have their own self-interest to additional funding.  It should be the states that fund maintenance of infrastructure, not the feds.  Because the feds have gotten their slimmy hands on funding this, the states have backed away and welcomed fed funding.  

Sledge-hammer's picture
Sledge-hammer (not verified) Mar 18, 2017 4:40 PM

Gee, we have been running trillion dollar deficits funding the thousand and one types of welfare for useless and shiftless colored minorities, illegal aliens, and refugees.  How about that for a funding source.  We piss awy billions in corporate welfare and subisidies.  There is some more money.  We allow the jews on Wall Street and the Fed Reserve to manipulate our financial system, devalue our dollar, and engage in billions of dollars worth of financial chcanery.  We support God only knows how much B.S. to the tune of billions of dollars regards foreign countries e.g. foreign aid.  I think that there is plenty of money to be found.

swmnguy's picture

You, sir, are innumerate.  It's the War Machine, pure and simple.  Foreign aid is pennies by comparison.  So is welfare.  You have to add Medicare and Social Security to the "welfare" list to make it even close.  

The federal deficit and the national debt is almost entirely and exclusively the result of military spending since the mid-1960's.  Sure, we wouldn't have won all those decisive military victories or held off all those invasions without all that military spending.  But we wouldn't have a deficit or national debt, either.

OCnStiggs's picture

Obama doubled the National Debt, adding TEN TRILLION DOLLARS. During his eight years, the US Military crumbled while prosecuting more wars on more fronts than in any presidency in history. Our war machines (and warriors) are WORN OUT. They need replacement. Obama's deficits would have paid for our military need many times over but, clearly, the money did not go into weapons systems.

So where did it go?



uhland62's picture

Rumsfeld was looking and he said he knew, but he didn't tell us.

I am not sure why people are getting worked up about that all. US policy was never about requirements for US citizens, quality of life or what you want to call it. Spending priority was always power, power of the corporations, power over other countries, our interests, Full Spectrum Dominance etc.

As this was paid for there was nothing over for the people. Really, nothing to see here. Start fundraising for dams if you want them, and for schools, and for bridges. Trump is no exception here, especially when he calls for private investment which is not going to happen. 

Megaton Jim's picture

Frankly Scarlett, I don't give a dam!

williambanzai7's picture

Millennial don't need no stinking dams!

Boris Badenov's picture

When the levee breaks, Momma you got to move.

(I'd give credit to Page/Plant but they probably stole it).

Dougs Decks's picture

You do realize that fixing the dams, roads, bridges, is only a temporary boost to the economy,,, The jobs like construction, supplies, the small shops in the area, will only last as long as the project lasts,,, After that, what do you have??? The same damn dams, roads, bridges that you had before,,, Unless there is an increase in capacity, there is no economic progress,,, All you have is a bill on borrowed money to end up with the same thing,,, And if the ancients can build shit that lasts thousand of years, why can't we get 50 or 100??? I'm not saying if the damn dam is going to blow, then you damn well better fix the damn dam,,,


                         I just wanted to say damn,,,

shrimpythai's picture

didn't someone a while ago mention why not tax every wall street stock market transaction - even .1 or .2 or whatever per cent

"But speculative purchases of stocks, bonds and other financial instruments in the United States go untaxed but for a tiny fee (less than a half-cent) on stock trades that helps finance the Securities and Exchange Commission."


Britain does 0.5% and gets 40 billion a year - if usa did it 0.5% would get 175 billion a year

come on Trumpski - let's get wall st paying for stuff - less than half a cent per trade? come on man ! 

and I am a trump fan - well was  - now not so sure anymore 5 5 5 

yah jeezus H 

shrimpythai's picture

try to grab the movie Equilibrium with Christian Bale and Sean Bean


after a war  - everyone is on Prozium a drug to dumb you down - and big brother is watching everything

Tetragrammaton secret police in charge of finding people who "feel" because they aren't taking their Prozium drug 

Quotes from imbd

[first lines
"DuPont: In the first years of the 21st century, a third World War broke out. Those of us who survived knew mankind could never survive a fourth; that our own volatile natures could simply no longer be risked. So we have created a new arm of the law: The Grammaton Cleric, whose sole task it is to seek out and eradicate the true source of man's inhumanity to man - his ability to feel." 



RedBaron616's picture

Unless the dams are producing power, tear them down and let the rivers run their course.