Today it faces another disaster: The 90-year old Guajataca River dam is failing in the wake of 15 inches of rain from Hurricane Maria.
The Guajataca Dam, completed in 1927 and last inspected in October 2013, is maintained by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, according to a 2016 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers. It is a hydroelectric dam, 120 feet high, holding water from the Guajataca River in Teranova County.
The 345-yard dam holds back a man-made lake covering about 2 square miles, U.S. government records show.
The NWS first learned of a “contained breach” during a Friday afternoon inspection. The Puerto Rican government confirmed it is more than a fissure, and concluded that the dam was actually failing.
The weather service in San Juan said it has been running various “dam break scenarios” because of the pressure on the structure from the heavy rains brought by Hurricane Maria.
“Results indicate that a full breach would result in large peak flows that would reach the coast in under 12 hours,” the weather service said. “Flood extent mapping of these scenarios keep flows largely within the canyon river channel.”
If the dam does break there will be massive flooding and everything in its wake will be destroyed by a wall of water.
Then there will be no water and no electricity.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock