Washington, D.C. — With an uptick in extreme weather events and a majority of American dams approaching the end of their expected lifespans, it is time to rethink public policy on dams, according to a new report out today by the Center for American Progress. The report release coincides with an event hosted by CAP titled, “Assessing the Condition of America’s Dams and Rivers.”
Like much of America’s aging infrastructure, many of the country’s estimated two million dams are obsolete, costly, aging, and unsafe. Nearly 4,000 dams around the country have been reported as deficient, and the American Society of Civil Engineers has given America’s dam infrastructure a D rating. In light of this public safety risk, CAP’s report looks at the condition of America’s dams and recommends incentivizing the decommissioning and removal of obsolete and unnecessary dams while also modernizing dams that are still needed.
“It shouldn’t take a catastrophic failure for the dams in this country to get much-needed attention,” said Jenny Rowland, Research and Advocacy Associate for CAP’s Public Lands Project and author of the report. “Unfortunately, as is the case with much of our aging infrastructure, we jump from crisis to crisis and fail to plan ahead. This report outlines a system for beginning to address the thousands of obsolete and unnecessary dams that currently block rivers, pose safety threats, and should be considered for removal.”