Opinion: Libya showed what happens if we ignore aging dams
The collapse of two dams in Libya, unleashing torrential floodwaters that left at least 3,000 people dead and over 4,200 still missing, was both predicted and preventable. And they won’t be the last big dams to collapse … In the United States, the second most prolific dam-builder after China, the average age of dams is 65 years old and an estimated 2,200 structures are at high risk of collapse. … The fact that it’s increasingly difficult to justify many dams’ existence is one reason there is a growing movement, often led by Indigenous peoples and other marginalized populations, to remove them. Most notably, the removal of four dams on the Klamath River along the Oregon-California border, set to be completed next year, will be the largest such effort in history.
-Written by Josh Klemm and Isabella Winkler, co-directors of International Rivers, a group that advocates for healthy rivers and the rights of river communities.
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