Hidroituango dam fail emergency

A dam fail does not necessarily mean a total collapse of the dam. A dam fail refers to any unexpected or uncontrolled water flow. Therefore, the recent emergency at the Hidroituango dam in Colombia could be referred as a dam fail.

Last month Colombia faced one of its worse dam fails in history in the Hidroituango hydropower dam construction. Hidroituango hydropower dam is supposed to be the most important hydropower project in Colombia. With a 220 m high dam and 8 turbines it will have an installed capacity of 2 400 MW. Last month, some landslides locked some water detour tunnels, thus creating an unexpected fill and unexpected water flows. In order to safe the dam, it was necessary to sacrifice the machines room by using it as an emergency spillway.

In this post we present a time frame summary of this event. 
  • April 28th. Water detour tunnel gets locked due to internal landslide
  • April 30th. Water naturally unlocks the tunnel
  • May 1st. Another water detour tunnel gets locked due to internal landslide. Water begins to accumulate and to fill the reservoir
  • May 4th. Water fills about 50% of reservoir capacity.
  • May 10th. It is decided to use the machines room as bypass. Machines room gets flooded.
  • May 12th. River flow downstream increases. Some towns are flooded and some bridges collapse
  • May 16th. Emergency is declared. Several towns and thousands of people are evacuated. One filtration is reported; there is possibility for a dam break. Emergency works continue.
  • May 19th. Dam works reach level 405 masl (target level to use the cofferdam is 410 masl). Although there is hope for reaching the target, rains are forecasted.
The video and the infographic shows a time frame of this event
Infographic of Hidroituango dam crisis 2018


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