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Conference Information: ICOLD Annual Meeting Coming to Seattle in 2013

For the first time in 25 years, a U.S. city will host the 81st Annual Meeting of the International Commission on Large Dams. Event organizers chose Seattle because of the important role hydropower and water resources played in the development of the Pacific Northwest.

By Susan S. Anderson

The U.S. Society on Dams will host the 81st Annual Meeting of the International Commission on Large Dams in Seattle, Wash., next year. The decision by ICOLD to accept the USSD invitation marks the first time since 1988 that ICOLD will gather in the U.S.

A thousand or more dam engineers and water resources professionals from about 80 countries are expected to attend the week-long meeting, to be held Aug. 12-16, 2013.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity to share knowledge and lessons learned with colleagues around the world," says Michael F. Rogers, USSD president and chairman of the ICOLD 2013 Organizing Committee. "We look forward to showcasing U.S. engineering practices, projects and experiences with our international visitors."

In the past, ICOLD has primarily selected sites outside the U.S. for its conferences. But Rogers says Seattle is a perfect venue for the event, considering the important role of hydropower and water resources in the development of the Pacific Northwest.

The venue selection for the ICOLD Annual Meeting is based on several criteria. These include: the importance of dams and hydropower to the region of the proposed venue; the opportunity to demonstrate state-of-the-art technical achievements to the international meeting participants; attractions offered by the host city; and the capabilities of the host national committee to organize a large international event.

There are more than 1,200 dams in the state of Washington. With about 80,000 km of rivers and streams, 7,800 lakes and 5,000 km of coastline, water is an essential resource for the economic, social and cultural well-being of the state, organizers say. Washington leads the nation in hydroelectricity, with about 87% of its electricity produced by hydro facilities. In fact, about 31% of total U.S. hydropower is generated in Washington state.

The commission's technical committees will meet during the week, which will culminate with ICOLD's annual business meeting. A one-day symposium, "Changing Times: Infrastructure Development to Infrastructure Management," will focus on the evolving challenges facing critical water infrastructure projects.

The Bonneville Lock and Dam is about 40 miles east of Portland, Ore., on the Columbia River.
The Bonneville Lock and Dam is about 40 miles east of Portland, Ore., on the Columbia River.

Abstracts submitted in response to the call for papers will be accepted until September 30. The call for papers, including suggested topics, is found at www.icold2013.org.

In addition, the ICOLD 2013 program will feature unique opportunities to meet in a workshop environment to understand key technical challenges being addressed by USSD technical committees. The nine half-day workshops offered during the meeting include:

• Life extension technologies and strategies for aging dams;
• Dam safety risk management;
• Managing spillway and reservoir capacity changes;
• Aging of concrete dams;
• State-of-the-art technologies for monitoring dams and levees;
• Closure of tailings dams;
• Levees and embankments - robustness, resiliency and redundancy;
• Decommissioning dams at the end of their useful service life; and
• Seismic analysis of embankment dams.

Washington's Grand Coulee Dam, on the Columbia River, is one of the world's largest concrete dams.
Washington's Grand Coulee Dam, on the Columbia River, is one of the world's largest concrete dams.

A three-day exhibition will be a highlight of the annual meeting. Numerous sightseeing and technical tours will be offered during the week for delegates and guests, and social and cultural events will encourage networking in more casual environments.

Study tours before and after the meeting will provide an opportunity to visit several milestone dam and critical infrastructure projects around the U.S. as a follow-up to the lessons of the symposium and workshops.

ICOLD is a non-governmental organization founded in 1928 that provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in dam engineering and management. For more information about the ICOLD 81st Annual Meeting, visit www.icold2013.org.

Susan S. Anderson is a consultant for the U.S. Society on Dams, host of the 81st Annual Meeting of the International Commission on Large Dams.


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