Dam Construction Linked to Devastating Landslide in Iran

Dam Construction Linked to Devastating Landslide in Iran

In a revealing study, scientists have established a connection between the construction of a dam and a catastrophic landslide in Iran, highlighting the environmental risks associated with large-scale infrastructure projects.

A detailed analysis of satellite data has uncovered that the slope near the village of Hoseynabad-e Kalpush began to shift following the commencement of a dam’s reservoir filling. This movement, which started at the lower part of the slope in 2015, gradually progressed upwards over the years, correlating with the rising water levels in the reservoir.

The research points to the water accumulation in the dam as the culprit for raising the local water table, thereby making the soil on the adjacent hillside more susceptible to movement. This reactivation of an ancient landslide was further exacerbated by heavy rainfall in early 2019, leading to the eventual disaster.

The Human Cost

The landslide of March 2019 was nothing short of a tragedy for the residents of Hoseynabad-e Kalpush. The village was torn apart, with 300 houses damaged and critical infrastructure severed. The immediate aftermath left the community in disarray, grappling with the loss of homes and the disruption of their connection to the nearby dam.

Despite initial claims by local authorities attributing the landslide to natural causes, the scientific evidence now paints a different picture, one where human intervention played a significant role.

A Cautionary Tale

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of dam construction, a practice that has seen a dramatic increase in recent years. It underscores the need for comprehensive environmental impact assessments and the consideration of geological factors in the planning and building of such structures.

The findings from this study not only shed light on the specific events that led to the Hoseynabad-e Kalpush landslide but also serve as a warning for future projects. It is a call to action for engineers and policymakers to prioritize safety and sustainability in the pursuit of development.