Key Topic

Levees, Dams, Waterways


There are 12,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways and over 87,000 dams located throughout the U.S. Over 4,000 dams are "unsafe" and have deficiencies that are estimated to cost $21 billion to repair.    The average age of dams is more than 51 years old and as dams age, deterioration increases and construction costs rise (Association of State Dam Safety Officials).

More than 566 million tons of freight valued at $152 billion move through the inland waterways system annually (American Society of Civil Engineers 2013).  These are critical infrastructure systems that, if not repaired and maintained, will cause catastrophic damages by flooding towns, cities, and farmland in virtually every region of the U.S.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed the world what happens when our levees are not built to handle the appropriate levels of water. Had we invested more just a few years before, we may have prevented the billions in costs following that disaster and saved hundreds of lives.