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March 9, 2007, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., Holmes Hall 244
Horst Brandes, Associate Professor, CEE UHManoa

Hawaii’s Dams

Failure of the Kaloko dam on Kauai, along with the earthquakes of
October 2006, brought widespread attention to Hawaii’s ageing system of
reservoirs and ditches. This segment of our infrastructure represents
some of the oldest and largest earth structures in the State, yet it is
easily forgotten. Failure can have devastating consequences in terms of
loss of human life and economic damages, as we were reminded last year.
An overview of the State’s inventory of dams and reservoirs is given,
along with a brief illustration of construction techniques and
deficiencies. Dam hazards and methods to assess such threats are
discussed and specific case studies are briefly mentioned. Risk
classifications and national dam safety standards are also presented.
Finally, some observations are offered as to what is required to
maintain the safety of our dams.

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