Minnesota dam failure: Thousands of US dams may be unprepared for extreme rain driven by climate change

High water levels at the Rapidan Dam in Minnesota

Ben Brewer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The near failure of a century-old dam in Minnesota has drawn renewed attention to the vulnerability of the US’s ageing water infrastructure. Thousands of dams are in poor condition, and many were designed based on estimates of extreme rain that may now be outdated as climate change drives stronger precipitation in some parts of the country.

“The state of the infrastructure is such that it’s not able to resist even minor events in many cases,” says Upmanu Lall at Arizona State University.

Of the country’s more…

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