Across the Country, Governments Neglect Dams

Officials blow money on lots of things, but not on maintenance


The floodwaters are swelling, but the resources needed to confront them are shriveling up. That's the frustrating reality that state dam officials face as they confront added stress to the thousands of structures they regulate.

Extreme weather, shifting demographics and the simple passage of time are teaming up to erode the condition of dams and increase the cost of their failure, often measured in millions of dollars and significant numbers of lives lost.