Hundreds of earthen dams pose dangers across state

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Posted: Saturday, April 12, 2014 5:00 pm | Updated: 12:18 am, Mon Apr 14, 2014.

Doña Ana County commissioners received a dire warning last September. It predicted a disaster if rains overwhelmed dams and drainage systems in La Union, a colonia of about 300 homes near the U.S./Mexico border.

Two days later, on Sept. 12, the prediction came true. A torrent of rain fell and water breached a small earthen dam upstream from La Union. Homes flooded, streets were wiped out and residents were without gas, power or drinking water for several days. A sinkhole swallowed one resident’s vehicle.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Steve Salazar posted at 11:32 am on Mon, Apr 14, 2014.

    Steve Salazar Posts: 871

    Nice stretch!

  • Francisco Carbajal posted at 8:06 am on Sun, Apr 13, 2014.

    FranciscoCarbajal Posts: 219

    As these old dams begin to rot and become a danger to the communities across the state, the best thing that can happen for now is - for each county emergency management office being prepared for in case of a major disaster. I heard that in Santa Fe County, there is one dam located in Nambe somewhere above the village of Chimayo and possibly more throughout this specific county. And sometimes, these dams receive a lot of storm water and overspills at times during the monsoon season. If this dam was ever breach and the storm water was rolling towards this traditional community, how long would it take to reach the old church downstream? Some say, six minutes or less than ten minutes. So, is the Santa Fe County Emergency Management Office ready to deal with all of the emergency preparedness in case of a dam failure? What about Rio Arriba County Emergency Management Office? Are they working together to protect us from these type of potential disasters in our communities? I am curious if this Nambe Dam operations have conducted any emergency drills relating to evacuations of an entire community. On the same note, since hundred's of pilgrims will be walking to Chimayo during Holy Week, is our county official's ready for any possible disaster (i.e., dam break, wild land fires in Chimayo, active-shooter scenario, etc.) Good story,[thumbup]


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