Why Act Now?

Christoval is not alone.  An article from the Texas Observer titled “Dammed to Fail” (April 1, 2019) notes that, of the 300 dam failures in Texas since 1910, half have occurred in the last nine years.  While communities do their best to repair and maintain dams, the fact remains that significant expenditures of time and money are required to maintain this critical infrastructure.  For years, the local community has made small spot repairs to this 148 year old dam, but recent significant flood events in 2007, 2018, and now in 2020 mean that a more deliberate and dedicated effort is required.  Notably, in the same article quoted above, about a third of the observed dam failures were due to “overtopping” – when water rushes over the top of a dam.  These Overtopping events can significantly damage the structure and put it at greater risk of collapse.

The Christoval dam has experienced significant decline in the last 15 years, making spot repairs inadequate.  Evidence suggests that significant erosion is also occurring below the water and soil surface.  A dedicated effort and a well-engineered, comprehensive repair solution will ensure that the dam, irrigation canal, and all the associated benefits remain accessible to the community for generations to come.