What Would It Take to Pay for Dam Rehab in the US?

From 1998 to 2015, the recorded number of deficient dams (those with structural or hydraulic deficiencies leaving them susceptible to failure) rose by 137%—from 1,818 to 4,308. In 2017, there are more than 2,100 deficient high-hazard potential dams.  There have been modest gains in repair but, the number of dams identified as unsafe is increasing at a faster rate than those being repaired. The average age of dams in the United States is 56 years old and by 2025, 7 out of 10 dams will be over 50. While old dams can still be in good condition, many need to be updated to modern standards and improved to withstand extreme weather.

Since 2004, an ASDSO task group has tracked dam rehabilitation cost as follows.

Funding needs,
non-federal dams
Funding needs,
non-federal HH dams
$34 billion
$10.1 billion
$51.46 billion
$16 billion ($8.7b public, $7.3b private)
$53.69 billion
$18.2 billion ($11.2b public, $7b private)
$60.7 billion
$18.71 billion

Read the Full Report: The Cost of Rehabilitating Our Nation’s Dams: A Methodology, Estimate, and Proposed Funding Mechanism

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