TLW's Damscope™ (Dam Historyscope)
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Mar. 5, 2020. Last Update: Apr. 9, 2020.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to the history of Dams, Reservoirs, and Hydropower. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
There are more than 57K large (15m height) dams in use worldwide incl. 300+ major (150m height) dams, with the most in China (23K), followed by the U.S. (9.2K), India, Japan, and Brazil; in the 1950s 1K dams were being built each year, down to only 260 in the early 1990s after environmentalists began blocking them. Dam types incl. arch dams, buttress dams, embankment dams, gravity dams, masonry dams, roller dams, steel dams, tailings dams, (tidal) barrages, and volcanic dams.
In 193 B.C.E. the Porticus Aemilia, a warehouse in Rome's new dockyards is built S of the Aventine Hill by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Lucius Aemilius Paulus, becoming the first use of Concrete, based on pozzolana, volcanic stone mortar from the new Roman colony of Pozzuoli in the Bay of Naples (two parts pozzolana to one part lime); the addition of seawater makes it stronger over time?
In Oct. 1932 the 2,600-ft.-long 200-ft.-height Dneprostroi Dam on the Dnieper River in the Ukraine (begun 1927) opens, achieving the age-old dream of making it navigable over the rapids above Zaporozhe, and causing the Dnieper to link the Black and Baltic Seas.
In 1932 the 20-mi.-long 300-ft.-long 23.8-ft.-high Afsluitdijk (Dutch "Shutoff Dike") (begun 1927) is completed, running from Den Oever in North Holland to the village of Zurich in Friesland, becoming the basis of the Zuiderzee Works damming off the Zuiderzee salt water inlet of the North Sea and creating the freshwater IJsselmeer Lake in N and C Netherlands, becoming the largest lake in W Europe; beyond it is the Wadden Zee, followed by the West Frisian Islands; the motorway serves as a demonstration site for the Netherlands' 81 mph (130 km/h) speed limit - why don't I feel quite safe?
On Sept. 11, 1936 Pres. Roosevelt dedicates the 726-ft.-high (first to break the 700-ft. barrier) Boulder Dam (later Hoover Dam) in Nevada (begun 1931) by pressing a key in Washington, D.C. signaling the startup of the dam's first hydroelectric generator; a plaque reads, "They died to make the desert bloom"; the highest dam in the world until 1957, it creates Lake Mead, the world's largest reservoir; on Oct. 9 the first generator at the dam begins transmitting electricity to Los Angeles; the govt. creates Boulder City, Nev. for the workers, and makes gambling permanently illegal, even after the state legalizes it.
On Sept. 29, 1937 Pres. FDR dedicates the 48-mi.-long Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River at the Wash.-Ore. 40 mi. E of Portland, Ore. (begun in 1934), which makes the river navigable; it is named for Oregon Trail explorer U.S. Army Capt. Benjamin Bonneville; a 2nd powerhouse is completed in 1982.
On June 1, 1942 the 550-ft. Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Wash. State (begun July 16, 1933) begins operation, becoming the largest electric power plant and largest concrete structure in the U.S.; in 1974 a 3rd powerhouse is completed, making it the largest power station in the U.S. by nameplate cap. (6,809 MW).
In 1945 the 602-ft.-high arch-gravity Shasta Dam (originally Kennett Dam) (begun 1937) across the Sacramento River at the N end of Sacramento Valley in N Calif. is completed, creating 4.5M acre ft. (5.6G liters) Shasta Lake, which becomes the largest reservoir in Calif.
On Jan. 9, 1960 the $1B 3,830m long x 980m wide x 111m tall Aswan High Dam on the first cataract of the Nile River (170B cu. m. of water), funded by the Soviet Union is begun (finished July 21, 1970), flooding Lower Nubia and displacing 60K; meanwhile UNESCO launches a rescue operation for antiquities, while Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the country's media - dam dumb ideas?
On Sept. 13, 1963 after environmentalist efforts to stop it fail, the last bucket of concrete is poured on the 710-ft.-tall 1.3M KW Glen Canyon Dam (begun 1956) on the Colorado River on the Ariz.-Utah border above the Grand Canyon (begun 1956) to form Lake Powell (named after Civil War vet John Wesley Powell, who explored the Colorado River in 1869), causing complaints about losing the canyon, side canyons, flow to the Grand Canyon etc. in order to light up Sin City Las Vegas, Nev. and irrigate desert golf courses; First Lady Lady Bird Johnson dedicates it on Sept. 22, 1966; over 1M acre ft. of water ends up wasted annually by evaporation and seepage from the desert lake, while historically the Colo. River has busted through much bigger lava dams?
On May 4, 1968 the 770-ft.-tall earthfill embankment Oroville Dam on the Feather River E of Oroville, Calif. in the Sierra Nevada foothills E of the Sacramento Valley (begun 1961) opens, becoming the tallest dam in the U.S. (until ?); 1.1T gal. 3.5M acre ft. Lake Oroville becomes the 2nd largest manmade lake in Calif.; in Feb. 2017 188K people are evacuated after the main and emergency spillways threaten to fail.
In 1973 the 717-ft.-tall $327M concrete gravity Dworshak Dam on the North Fork Clearwater River in Clearwater, Ohio 4 mi. NW of Orofino (begun 1966) is completed, becoming the 3rd tallest dam in the U.S. (until ?) and the tallest straight-axis concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere; too bad, no fish ladders.
In 1973 the 200-ft.-tall earthen Tabqa (Euphrates) (al-Thawra Dam) on the Euphrates River 25 mi. upstream of Raqqa, Syria (begun 1968) is completed after an internat. archeological dig that uncovers the archeological site of Abu Hureyra, which transitioned to agriculture about 10.8K B.C.E. then was wiped out by an asteroid impact; in 1983-86 Baath (Arab. "Renaissnce") Dam on the Euphrates River is built 14 mi. upstream from Raqqa and 11 mi. downstream from the Tabqa Dam; in 1991-9 the Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates River is built 56 mi. E of Aleppo, Syria and 50 mi. S of the Syria-Turkey border; on Feb. 4, 2013 ISIS captures the Baath Dam, followed on Feb. 11 by the Tabqa Dam; on June 4, 2017 the Baath Dam is recaptured by the Syrian Dem. Forces, who rename it Freedom Dam; in 2019 after the Turkish invasion of N Syria, control of the dam is given to the Syrian govt.
On June 5, 1976 the $100M earthen Teton Dam on the Teton River in Idaho suffers a catastrophic failure as it is being filled, killing 11 plus 13K cattle and causing $2B damage, of which the U.S. govt. pays $300M in claims.
On Nov. 6, 1977 the earthen Kelly Barnes Dam bursts, sending a wall of water through Toccoa Falls Bible College in Ga., killing 39.
In 2002 the 1,503-ft.-long 315-ft.-high 23-ft.-wide arch Alqueva Dam in S Portugal (begun 1995) is completed, damming the Guadiana River and creating the largest reservoir in W Europe (97 sq. mi.); it reaches full level in 2010.
In 2006 after the dam body is completed, the Chinese govt. evacuates 1.3M people to make way for the $22B Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River near Sandouping, Yiling District, Hubei Province, China, the world's largest hydroelectric project; it is completed on July 4, 2012, becoming the world's largest hydroelectric power station (22.5GW) (until ?); meanwhile one-third of China's landmass suffers from acid rain caused by rapid industrial growth as its factories spew 25.5M tons of sulfur dioxide in 2005, up 27% from 2000.
In July 2020 the $4.8B 509 ft. x 5,840 ft. Grand Ethopian Renaissance (Hidase) (Millennium) Dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethopia (begun Apr. 2, 2011) begins filling the reservoir with 13.3M cu. yd. of water, which is expected take 5-15 years, pissing-off Egypt and Sudan, which fear losing water, causing the U.S. and World Bank to issue a statement in Feb. 2020 that "final testing and filling should not take place without an agreement", which Ethopia rejects as attempted colonialism.