Technological Hazards

Dam failures

As emphasized by the International Commission on Large Dams in a 2007 report, dams will remain a crucial aspect of human development in the 21st century as water management will be a major challenge in particular as a result of climate change (increasing the irregularity of water supply) and population growth (increasing demand).

As in the case of any critical engineering infrastructure, the erection of dams is a potential source of hazards: the failure of a large storage dam would cause tremendous damage to infrastructure, the environment and the social network and result in a setback in the development of the surrounding region.

Dam safety is therefore a foremost prerequisite for the sustainable development of a storage project or for the sustainable operation of an existing storage facility. A technology that is unsafe has no future, and the history of dam construction, spanning over several thousand years, has shown that safety is the basis of sustainability.


Prepared by GHHD - European Centre on Geodynamical Risks of High Dams (Tbilisi, Georgia) & the Editorial Board