March 29, 2023

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The authorities assure that the reservoirs in Romania are in good technical condition. But the reality is different

In Romania, there are over two thousand artificial reservoirs, claim the environmental authorities. They ensure water supply to towns and irrigation systems and regulate flows to avoid flooding.

Most of them are in the administration of Romanian Waters, which checks their condition, and those that ensure the operation of hydropower plants are subordinated to Hidrolectrica. Others belong to the municipalities. According to the law, the authorities must constantly carry out checks and controls to keep them safe.

Located between Moldova and Transylvania, the Bicaz reservoir, also known as “The Spring of the Mountain“, is the largest artificial lake set up on the inland rivers in Romania. It has been operating for more than 60 years and contains over 1,200,000,000 cubic meters of water. Last fall, a leak was discovered during control drilling.

Calculations made by ISU Neamț for a possible catastrophe

Five years ago, ISU Neamț made calculations for a possible catastrophe. If there were a breach in the storage dam, the towns and communes located downstream, along the Bistrița and Siret rivers, would be flooded in a minimum of 19 minutes and a maximum of three hours. Such a scenario is impossible, experts say.

Altan Abdulamit, professor of construction and hydrotechnical engineering at the University of Construction Bucharest:If the crack was more serious, it would have operated with restrictions, and the Bicaz hydroelectric plant would have operated at reduced capacity. It’s not necessary. If there was a crack at Bicaz, it would be equivalent to the dam breaking“.

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Colibița Lake should also have been repaired three years ago, when the gradual emptying of the water began, but the work was interrupted.

Ioan Nimigean, deputy mayor of Bistrita Bârgăului:They started emptying Colibița lake to unclog it, but for reasons we don’t know, they stopped. Since that moment, I have not received anything official from Romanian Waters. Once every 50 years, from the discussions I had with certain people, it should be emptied and unclogged, there are some valves at the bottom of the lake. From what I understand, one of them would not be functional or not working within the parameters it should“.

The Colibița dam provides flood protection in the area of ​​Bistrița.

Cătălin Popescu, professor at the Faculty of Construction: We have a large dam, which has a water retention in order to protect that area. In addition, the project that will take place in that area will bring that dam to its original parameters. It is a work of bringing the bottom voids into parameters. There is no danger to the population. It is one of the safest dams because of the way it is built“.

The safety categories in which the dams are classified

Depending on their importance, dams are classified into four safety categories: dam of exceptional importance, dam of particular importance, dam of normal importance or dam of low importance.

Over two thousand dams are considered of low importance. They are administered by Romanian Water, Hidrolectrica, local authorities or some private individuals. All must be monitored and verified by the Romanian authorities.

Altan Abdulamit, professor of construction and hydrotechnical engineering at the University of Construction:The normally assessed yield rate is somewhere around one yield per ten thousand or one hundred thousand years, ten to minus four, ten to minus five. It is impossible to be a crack, once such a dam has begun to be put under load, during the filling period all observations are made“.

The representatives of Romanian Waters told us that the vast majority of the dams in our country have a safe operation authorization for a maximum period of seven years and are in good and very good technical condition.

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