From Boon to Danger: How Dams Increase the Risk of Landslides and What Can Be Done to Prevent Them

Causal relationship found between 2019 Iranian landslide and dam construction, scientists say

Over the past few decades, there has been a sharp rise in the construction of dams worldwide, driven by the need for water supply and energy generation. However, concerns have emerged about the potential dangers associated with building dams, such as an increased likelihood of landslides in nearby areas. A recent study has shed light on this issue by highlighting a clear link between reservoir filling and landslide incidents.

In March 2019, a devastating landslide struck Hoseynabad-e Kalpush village in Iran, causing severe damage to 300 houses and cutting off access to the nearby dam. Local authorities initially blamed the landslide on heavy rainfall, but researchers from Germany’s Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam found that it was actually triggered by the movement of soil caused by the filling of the reservoir. This movement raised the local water table, making it easier for soil to move and leading to a reactivation of an ancient landslide that eventually gave way after heavy rainfall in 2019.

The study, published in Engineering Geology, underscores how important it is for engineers and policymakers to take into account the impacts of reservoir filling on nearby geological structures and implement measures to mitigate the risk of landslides. The incident in Hoseynabad-e Kalpush village serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the need for thorough risk assessment and planning when constructing dams. By understanding these potential consequences, we can work towards more sustainable and safe water management practices in future projects.

It is crucial that we prioritize safety when building dams and consider all possible risks associated with their construction. We must take into account factors such as soil composition, local weather patterns, and hydrological conditions when designing these structures to ensure that they are safe for both people and the environment. Only then can we hope to achieve sustainable water management practices that benefit society while minimizing harm to our planet.

In conclusion, building dams comes with significant benefits but also potential risks that must be carefully considered before embarking on any project. By taking proactive steps to mitigate these risks through careful planning and implementation of appropriate measures, we can ensure that our water management practices are both sustainable and safe for generations to come.

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