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List of major dam failures[edit]

Dam/incident Year Location Fatalities Details

Marib Dam 575 Sheba, Yemen Unknown Unknown causes, possibly neglect. The consequent
failure of the irrigation system provoked the migration
of up to 50,000 people from Yemen.

Puentes Dam 1802 Lorca, Spain 608 1,800 houses and 40,000 trees destroyed.[2]

Bilberry reservoir 1852 Holme 81 Failed due to heavy rain.


Valley, United
Kingdom

Dale Dike 1864 South 244 Defective construction, small leak in wall grew until
Reservoir Yorkshire, Unite dam failed. More than 600 houses were damaged or
d Kingdom destroyed.

Iruka Lake Dam 1868 Inuyama, Aichi 941 Under the influence of heavy rain from late April, this
Prefecture soil dam collapsed on May 13. Water accumulated in
(then Owari Lake Iruka overflowed downstream, causing severe
Province), Japan damage to
Inuyama, Iwakura, Kasugai, Tsushima Yatomi, and to
Komaki. 807 houses were destroyed, with another
11709 flooded.

Mill River Dam 1874 Williamsburg, U 139 Lax regulations and cost cutting led to an insufficient
nited States design, which fell apart when the reservoir was full. 600
million gallons of water were released, wiping out 4
towns and making national headlines. This dam break
led to increased regulation of dam construction.

South Fork Dam 1889 Johnstown, Unit 2,209 Blamed locally on poor maintenance by owners; court
ed States deemed it an "Act of God". Followed exceptionally
heavy rainfall. Caused Johnstown flood. 1,600 homes
were destroyed.

Walnut Grove 1890 Wickenburg, Uni 100 Heavy snow and rain following public calls by the dam's
Dam ted States chief engineer to strengthen the earthen structure.[3]

Gohna Lake dam 1894 Garhwal, India 1 Failure of a landslide dam. Authorities had been able to
evacuate the valley.
McDonald Dam 1900 Texas, United 8 Extreme current caused failure.
States

Hauser Dam 1908 Helena, United 0 Heavy flooding coupled with poor foundation quality.
States Workers managed to warn people downstream.

Broken Down 1908 Fergus 0 Design flaw. Four downstream dams and bridge
Dam Falls, United destroyed. Mills, homes and farms flooded. No
States fatalities.

Austin Dam 1911 Austin, United 78 Poor design, use of dynamite to remedy structural
States problems. Destroyed paper mill and much of the town of
Austin.

Desn Dam 1916 Czech Republic 62 Construction flaws caused the dam failure.
(then Desn, Aus
tria-Hungary)

Lake 1916 Transylvania 0 Heavy rains caused the dam to give way. Dam was later
Toxaway Dam County, United rebuilt in the 1960s
States

Sweetwater Dam 1916 San Diego 0 Over-topped from flooding; partial failure.
County, United
States

Lower Otay Dam 1916 San Diego 14 Over-topped from flooding.


County, United
States

Tigra Dam 1917 Gwalior, India 1,000 Failed due to water infiltrating through foundation.
Possibly more fatalities.

Gleno Dam 1923 Province of 356 Poor construction and design.


Bergamo, Italy

Llyn Eigiau dam 1925 Dolgarrog, Unite 17 The outflow from Llyn Eigiau destroyed Coedty
and Coedty d Kingdom reservoir. Contractor blamed cost-cutting in construction
reservoir but 25" of rain had fallen in preceding 5 days.

St. Francis Dam 1928 Santa 600 Geological instability of canyon wall that could not have
Clarita, United been detected with available technology of the time.
States
Secondary Dam 1935 Molare, Italy 111 Geological unstable base combined with flood.
of Sella Zerbino

Horonai Dam 1941 mu, 60 A torrential rain struck around Horonai River area. This
Hokkaido, Japan is the dam collapse in the wake, and according to
official confirmed, the lost houses reached to 32.

Nant-y-Gro dam 1942 Elan 0 Destroyed during preparation for Operation Chastise in
Valley, United World War II.
Kingdom

Edersee Dam 1943 Hesse, Germany 70 Destroyed by bombing during Operation Chastise in
World War II. Widespread destruction.

Mhne Dam 1943 Ruhr, Germany 1,579 Destroyed by bombing during Operation Chastise in
World War II. 11 factories were destroyed, 114 seriously
damaged.

Heiwa Lake Dam 1951 Kameoka, Kyoto 117 In heavy rain, it swallowed the muddy stream of the
Prefecture, Japan village of the downstream portion and collapse the
peace pond of irrigation ponds, Kameoka and damage in
the surrounding area of 80 houses damaged, according
to local official confirmed.

Tangiwai disaster 1953 Whangaehu 151 Failure of Mount Ruapehu's crater lake.
River, New
Zealand

Taisho Lake Dam 1951 Ide, Kyoto 108 Under the influence of heavy rain, outburst with a
Prefecture, Japan Ninotani Lake Dam.

Vega de Tera 1959 Ribadelago, Spai 144 According to dam workers testimonies, the grounds had
n serious structural deficiencies due to poor construction.
On the night of January 9, a 150 meters long portion of
the contention wall collapsed letting out nearly 8 million
cubic meters of stored water.[4]

Malpasset dam 1959 Cte 423 Geological fault possibly enhanced by explosives work
d'Azur, France during construction; initial geo-study was not thorough.
Two villages were destroyed.

Kurenivka 1961- Kiev, Ukraine (t 1,500 Impoundment of the clay slurry reservoir (storing the
mudslide 03-13 hen Ukrainian waste of the local brick factories) failed after heavy
SSR of rains, inundating the Kurenivka neighborhood with
the Soviet meters of mud, up to 2,000 fatalities.
Union)

Panshet Dam 1961 Pune, India 1,000 Dam wall burst due to pressue of accumulated rain
water.[5]

Baldwin Hills 1963 Los 5 Subsidence caused by over-exploitation of local oil


Reservoir Angeles, United field. 277 homes destroyed.
States

Spaulding Pond 1963 Norwich, United 6 More than $6 million estimated damages.
Dam States
(Mohegan Park)

Vajont Dam 1963 Monte Toc, Italy 2,000 Strictly not a dam failure, since the dam structure did
not collapse and is still standing. Filling the reservoir
caused geological failure in valley wall, leading to
110 km/h landslide into the lake; water escaped in a
wave over the top of dam. Valley had been incorrectly
assessed stable. Several villages completely wiped out.

Swift Dam 1964- Montana, United 28 Caused by heavy rains.


06-10 States

Mina Plakalnitsa 1966 Vratsa, Bulgaria 107 A tailings dam at Plakalnitsa copper mine near the city
of Vratsa failed. A total 450,000 cu m of mud and water
inundated Vratsa and the nearby village of Zgorigrad,
which suffered widespread damage. The official death
toll is 107, but the unofficial estimate is around 500
killed.[6]

Sempor Dam 1967 Central Java 2,000 Flash floods over-topped the dam during construction.[7]
Province, Republ
ic of Indonesia

Certej dam failure 1971 Certej 89 A tailings dam built too tall collapsed, flooding Certeju
Mine, Romania de Sus with toxic tailings.[8]

Buffalo Creek 1972 West 125 Unstable loose constructed dam created by local coal
Flood Virginia, United mining company, collapsed in heavy rain. 1,121 injured,
States 507 houses destroyed, over 4,000 left homeless.
Canyon Lake 1972 South 238 Flooding, dam outlets clogged with debris. 3,057
Dam Dakota, United injuries, over 1,335 homes and 5,000 automobiles
States destroyed.

Banqiao and Shi 1975 Zhumadian, Chi 171,000 Extreme rainfall, beyond the planned design capability
mantan Dams na of the dam, dumped on China by Typhoon Nina. 11
million people lost their homes. Dam would later be
rebuilt between 1986 and 1993.

Teton Dam 1976 Idaho, United 11 Water leakage through earthen wall, leading to dam
States failure. 13,000 head of cattle died.

Laurel Run Dam 1977 Johnstown, Unit 40 Heavy rainfall and flooding that over-topped the dam.
ed States Six other dams failed the same day, killing five people.

Kelly Barnes 1977 Georgia, United 39 Unknown, possibly design error as dam was raised
Dam States several times by owners to improve power generation.

Machchu-2 Dam 1979 Morbi, India 5,000 Heavy rain and flooding beyond spillway capacity. Old
estimates were 1,80025,000 but a 2011 book by
Sandesara & Wooten refined the bracket to 5,000
10,000.[9]

Wadi Qattara 1979 Benghazi, Libya 0 Flooding beyond discharge and storage capacity
Dam damaged the main dam and destroyed the secondary
dam in the scheme.

Lawn Lake Dam 1982 Rocky Mountain 3 Outlet pipe erosion; dam under-maintained due to
National location.
Park, United
States

Tous Dam 1982 Valencia, Spain 25 Heavy flooding coupled with poor quality of the dam
wall, lack of qualified staff and negligence of a warning
of heavy rain in the area. On the next day, newspapers
reported possibly 40 fatalities and 25 disappeared but in
the coming days the count went down to 8 or 9. One
year later, LaVanguardia spoke of 25.

Val di Stava dam 1985 Tesero, Italy 268 Poor maintenance and low margin for error in design;
outlet pipes failed leading to pressure on dam.

Upriver Dam 1986 Washington 0 Lightning struck power system, turbines shut down.
state, United Water rose behind dam while trying to restart. Backup
States power systems failed, could not raise spillway gates in
time. Dam overtopped(rebuilt).

Kantale Dam 1986- Kantale, Sri 180 Poor maintenance, leakage, and consequent failure.
04-20 Lanka Destroyed over 1600 houses and 2000 acres of paddy
fields.

Perua Dam 1993 Split-Dalmatia 0 Not strictly a dam failure as there was a detonation of
detonation County, Croatia pre-positioned explosives by retreating Serb Forces.

Merriespruit 1994 Free State, South 17 Dam failed after a heavy thunderstorm. The dam was in
tailings dam Africa an unacceptable condition prior to failure. Widespread
devastation and environmental damage.

Saguenay Flood 1996 Quebec, Canada 10 Problems started after two weeks of constant rain, which
severely engorged soils, rivers and reservoirs. Post-flood
enquiries discovered that the network of dikes and dams
protecting the city was poorly maintained.

Meadow Pond 1996 New 1 Design and construction deficiencies resulted in failure
Dam Hampshire, Unit in heavy icing conditions.
ed States

Opuha Dam 1997 Canterbury, New 0 Heavy rain during construction caused failure, dam was
Zealand later completed.

Doana disaster 1998- Andalusia, Spain 0 Over-steepened dam failed by sliding on weak clay
04-25 foundation, releasing 45 million cubic metres of acidic
mine tailings into the River Agrio, a tributary of the
River Guadiamar, which is the main water source for
the Doana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage
Site.

Shihgang Dam 1999- Taiwan 0 Caused by damage sustained during the 921 earthquake.
09-21

Martin County 2000- Martin 0 Failure of a coal slurry impoundment. The water supply
coal slurry spill 10-11 County, United for over 27,000 residents was contaminated. The spill
States was 30 times larger than the Exxon Valdez oil spill and
one of the worst environmental disasters ever in the
southeastern United States
Vodn ndr 2002 Sobnov, Czech 0 Extreme rainfall during the 2002 European floods.
Sobnov Republic

Zeyzoun Dam 2002 Zeyzoun, Syria 22 2,000 individuals displaced and over 10,000 directly
affected.[10][11]

Ringdijk Groot- 2003 Wilnis, Netherla 0 Strictly not a dam or dike failure. The original Peat soil
Mijdrecht (nl) nds surrounding a polder (where peat had subsidized due to
oxidization) was pushed away by the water in the canal.
The peat became lighter than water during the 2003
drought. The real cause was new wooden piling along
the canal. This new piling was water tight and therefore
the peat soil dried out. Around 1,500 residents had to be
evacuated.

Hope Mills Dam 2003 North 0 Caused by heavy rains. 1,600 people evacuated.
05 Carolina, United
States

Silver Lake Dam 2003- Michigan, Unite 0 Heavy rains caused earthen dam and bank to wash away.
05-14 d States 1,800 people evacuated.

Big Bay Dam 2004 Mississippi, Unit 0 A small hole in the dam grew and eventually led to
ed States failure. 104 buildings damaged or destroyed.

Camar Dam 2004- Paraiba, Brazil 3 Poor maintenance. 3000 people homeless. A second
06-17 failure happened 11 days after.

Shakidor Dam 2005 Pasni, Pakistan 70 Sudden and extreme flooding caused by abnormally
severe rain.

Taum Sauk 2005 Lesterville, Unit 0 Computer/operator error; gauges intended to mark dam
reservoir ed States full were not respected; dam continued to fill. Minor
leakages had also weakened the wall through piping.
The dam of the lower reservoir withstood the onslaught
of the flood.

Campos Novos 2006 Campos 0 Tunnel collapse.


Dam Novos, Brazil

Gusau Dam 2006 Gusau, Nigeria 40 Heavy flooding. Approximately 500 homes were
destroyed, displacing 1,000 people.
Ka Loko Dam 2006 Kauai, United 7 Heavy rain and flooding. Several possible specific
States factors to include poor maintenance, lack of inspection
and illegal modifications.[12]

Lake Delton 2008- Lake 0 Failure due to June 2008 Midwest floods.
06-09 Delton, United
States

Koshi Barrage 2008 Koshi 250 Heavy rain. The flood affected over 2.3 million people
Zone, Nepal in the northern part of Bihar.

Kingston Fossil 2008- Roane 0 Failure of a fly ash slurry pond.


Plant 12-22 County, United
coal fly ash slurry States
spill

Algodes Dam 2009- Piaui, Brazil 7 Heavy rain.[13] 80 people injured, 2000 homeless.
05-27

Sayano 2009- Sayanogorsk, Ru 75 Not a dam failure, but rather the power station accident
Shushenskaya 08-17 ssia where the turbine 2 broke apart violently due to
Dam the metal fatigue caused by overlooked vibrations,
flooding the turbine hall and causing the ceiling to
collapse. The dam itself was unaffected, and the power
station rebuilt within 5 years.

Situ 2009 Tangerang, Indo 98 Poor maintenance and heavy monsoon rain.
Gintung Dam nesia

Kyzyl-Agash 2010 Qyzylaghash, Ka 43 Heavy rain and snowmelt. 300 people were injured and
Dam zakhstan over 1000 evacuated from the village.

Hope Mills Dam 2010 North 0 Sinkhole caused dam failure. Second failure of the dam,
Carolina, United will be replaced.
States

Testalinda Dam 2010- Oliver, Canada 0 Heavy Rain, low maintenance. Destroyed at least 5
06-13 homes. Buried Highway 97.

Delhi Dam 2010- Iowa, United 0 Heavy rain, flooding. Around 8,000 people had to be
07-24 States evacuated.

Niedow Dam 2010- Lower Silesian 1 Heavy rain, over-topped from flooding.[14]
08-07 Voivodeship, Pol
and

Ajka alumina 2010- Ajka, Hungary 10 Failure of concrete impound wall


plant accident 10-04 on alumina plant tailings dam. One million cubic meters
of red mud contaminated a large area, within days the
mud had reached the Danube.

Kenmare 2010- Topuito, Mozam 1 Failure of tailings dam at titanium mine. 300 homes had
Resources tailings 10-08 bique been rebuilt.
dam

Fujinuma Dam 2011- Sukagawa, Japan 8 Failed after 2011 Thoku earthquake. 7 dead and 1
03-11 unknown. Japanese authorities state that the dam failure
was caused by the earthquake, whose death toll is not
reported worldwide since 1930.[15]

Campos dos 2012- Campos dos 0 Failed after a period of flooding.[16] 4000 people
Goytacazes dam 01-04 Goytacazes, Bra displaced.
zil

Ivanovo Dam 2012- Biser, Bulgaria 8 Failed after a period of heavy snowmelt. A crack in the
02-06 dam went un-repaired for years. Eight people killed and
several communities flooded.[17]

Kpr Dam 2012- Adana 10 A gate in the diversion tunnel broke after a period of
02-24 Province, Turkey heavy rain during the reservoir's first filing. The
accident killed ten workers.[18][19]

Dakrong 3 Dam 2012- Qung Tr 0 Poor design, Typhoon Gaemi flood surge.
10-07 Province, Vietna
m

Tokwe Mukorsi 2014- Masvingo 0 Downstream slope failure on a 90.3 m (296 ft)
Dam 02-04 Province, Zimba tall embankment dam, possibly as the reservoir was
bwe being filled. Residents evacuated upstream.

Germano mine 2015- Mariana, Minas 17 One tailings dam collapse. One village destroyed, 600
tailings dams 11-05 Gerais, Brazil people evacuated, 19 missing. Sixty-million cubic
meters of iron waste sludge polluted Doce River, and
the sea near the river's mouth.