The Banqiao Reservoir Dam Failure - Essay Example

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The Banqiao Reservoir Dam Failure

This essay discusses that the collapse of the Banqiao and Shimantan Dams together with a several dozen much smaller dams in the Zhumadian Prefecture of Henan Province in China in August 1975 is among the world’s most devastating dam failures. Initially, it was reported that the dam failure was attributed to a natural disaster. However many years later and after considerable research, researchers have come to the conclusion that the Banqiao Reservoir Dam’s design and the design of the other reservoirs, together with the standards associated with containing the river are partly responsible for the dam failure.  In essence, it is now generally accepted that the Banqiao Reservoir Dam failure was due to both man-made error/engineering failure and a natural disaster. Zhumadian is situated in the Southern region of Henan Province with Hong and Ru Rivers running east through Zhumadian converging upon the Huai River.  The Banqiao Dam was constructed on the Ru River in 1952 as part of the flood control programme for the Huai River.  In 1956, the Banqiao Dam was reconstructed elevating the dam height and improving the capabilities of the reservoir.  The Banqiao Dam was constructed so that it could withstand “1-1in-1,000 year flood (306mm rainfall per day)”. The Banqiao Dam was described as a “clay-core earth fill dam” measuring 24.5 meters in height with the ability to store up to 492 million meters and with a further 375 million cubic meters “reserved for flood control”. ...Show more

Summary

The study investigates the main causes of the Banqiao Reservoir Dam failure and the implications when one or more dams depend on the sustainability of other dams. It also explores the engineering factors contributing to the engineering disaster.

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