"Colorado has so many deficient dams restricted from holding water that, if owners were to fix them, the state would gain four Chatfield Reservoirs worth of coveted water-storage capacity.
A review of state dam safety records also shows that a breach at any of 21 'high hazard' dams today likely would kill people living or working nearby. Failures at another 33 deficient 'significant hazard' dams would cause major property damage.
But dam repairs can cost millions of dollars, and Colorado Department of Natural Resources officials say they lack funds to help owners make repairs.
The state's approach to this worsening problem is to send out inspectors and, whenever they find deficiencies, impose restrictions on how much water safely can be held in reservoirs — to prevent blow-outs.
Meanwhile, Colorado water supply authorities are struggling to increase water storage to avert projected water shortages."