New Water Infrastructure Saves Lives Says Water Educator Sharon Kleyne Recalling St. Francis Dam Disaster of 1928

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Water Life Science® Creator Sharon Kleyne Commemorates St. Francis Dam Disaster of 1928 by Claiming That Lack of New Water Infrastructure Will Result in More Disasters. Ignoring Need for New Water Infrastructure Will Kill Says Educator Sharon Kleyne.

Sharon Kleyne, host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water, Global Climate Change and Your Health sponsored by Nature’s Tears® EyeMist® on VoiceAmerica, has forcefully lobbied over the course of two decades for much needed international water infrastructure plans.

On March 12th, Kleyne renewed her challenge to politicians and industry to create and implement new water infrastructure plans without delay. Kleyne issued her demands on the anniversary of the devastating 1928 collapse of the St. Francis Dam in California.

Just before midnight on March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam completely collapsed, a disaster that is still considered as one of the worst civil engineering failures in the twentieth century. The catastrophic incident still ranks as California’s second-worst loss of life incident, ranking behind only the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco. The dam’s collapse sent 12.4 billion gallons of water racing through San Francisquito Canyon in flood waves that reached 120 feet in height. More than 600 people were killed by the time the flood waters abated five miles away. In its path of destruction, the flood knocked out all power in the Santa Clara River Valley and part of the city of Ventura. Parts of present-day Valencia and Newhall were flooded and a four mile stretch of what is Interstate 5 today was under water. The town of Castaic Junction was washed away.

The disaster, Kleyne shared, ended the career of the legendary William Mulholland, General Manager and Chief Engineer of the Bureau of Water Works and Supply. Mulholland took the blame for the disaster and the experience ruined what was left of his life. Unbeknownst to anyone for several decades, Kleyne added, one abutment of the dam had been tied into an ancient landslide, which the reservoir saturated until it gave way. At the time, the technological and geological knowledge that could have averted the disaster was unknown.

All the more reason, said Kleyne, to dedicate resources to making sure such disasters are avoided in the present and future. Kleyne, also the founder and research director of Bio-Logic Aqua® Research Water Life Science® in Grants Pass, Oregon, pointed out that politicians in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world continue to pay lip service to beefing up new water research, new water technology and new water infrastructure while continuing to do very little, or nothing. It is well known now that thousands of miles of water pipes in the U.S. need to be repaired and replaced. New dams should be built and existing reservoirs need upgrading and repairs. The longer such efforts are delayed, the more likely it is that a disaster such as the collapse of the St. Francis Dam will occur again, resulting in even greater loss of life. When will apathy about the need for new water infrastructure end?

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