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We Need to Design Large Dams for a Long Life

Jul 18, 2024
Environmental Issues and Water Management

The recent failure of a dam in Libya, killing more than 10,000 people, highlights the need to rethink dam safety and potential life. A large dam will have a long life -- unless it fails. Few, if any, large dams are designed to be decommissioned.

The presentation discusses the implications and points out the need for dams to be designed, built and maintained to a high standard for hundreds or thousands of years. Can we be sure that, for as long as it lasts, it is monitored and maintained by people with the expertise and resources? What will happen to a hydropower plant once the dam fills with silt that gets into the power intake and destroys the turbines? Should virtually all large dams be designed with low-level intakes beneath the power intakes so they can be kept clear of silt? These are questions that need to be opened up to debate.

Environmental Issues and Water Management Track Sponsored by: Trinity Consultants

Maryam Kamali Nezhad, Engineer - Hydro-Quebec
Bryan Leyland, MD - Leyland Consultants

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