Ituango Dam, Colombia


The Ituango Dam in Colombia, still under construction, seems in imminent danger of collapse, possible affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

Previous to the incident, there were three tunnels with the purpose of rerouting the Cauca river's flow, two of them were concrete sealed and one constructed before starting the reservoir filling, which was the one where the river was flowing.[8] On april 30 of 2018, the tunnel collapsed, leading to an unexpected progressive water level increase upwards the river's flow, and a level decrease downwards the river.[9] The reason of the tunnel soil's collapse is yet unknown.

While the tunnel was clogged and after trying to reopen the concrete-sealed tunnels with explosives,[10] on may 10 the EPM engineers working on the construction decided to let the water flow through the yet-unfinished powerhouse,[11] bringing with that decision a stabilization of the river's flow on each side of the dam. But on may 12 of one of the previous sealed tunnels was opened for 4 hours by the water's weight, bringing a sudden increase in the river flow downwards up to 3 times the average.[12] This led to the evacuation of the people living in towns close to the river's water course and by the power of the river's flow, three bridges, two pedestrian and one for vehicles, were razed.[13]

On may 16 was reported that a clogging in the powerhouse site, used to divert the river's flow, made water go through vehicles transit galleries, located higher above of the powerhouse exit and right on the dam's wall, starting to erode the dam wall's drain layer.[14] After that, EPM announced that there's a risk of collapse of the dam and began focusing on finishing the project to its design height, so the water could be let flowing through the spillway in a controlled way.[15]
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Not sure if there's anything here to debunk, but for members with interest and expertise in dam construction, and potential failure, this live situation is rather dire.
On Saturday, May 19, the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management called for a total and immediate evacuation of all localities in the red alert area. People in the orange alert areas were warned to remain attentive to information from authorities and assistance agencies. Other municipalities located downstream were on yellow alert.
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