The Hoover Dam was built on the border between our states of Arizona and Nevada.  Perhaps you’ve had a chance to visit this dam along with the nearly one million other people who visit it each year.  The massive dam took about five years to build and required six U.S. companies to band together to bid for, construct, and complete the project.  It required over 21,000 people to build and even resulted in the creation of a town to house and feed all the workers, the town of Boulder City, Nevada.  At the time of its completion, it was the largest dam in the world, so, as you can imagine, there were so many logistical problems to solve in constructing it, and some of the engineering ideas required for its construction were untried.  At completion, it would rise 726 feet above what was the surface of the river at the time, and it would stretch 1,244 feet across the canyon in a convex shape; holding back a massive body of water (Lake Meade), the dam was shaped to transfer most of the weight to the canyon walls on either side of it, thus making them part of the structure.  And that massive body of water generates up to 45,000 pounds of pressure per square foot at the base of the dam, so although the wall of the dam is only 45 feet thick at the top, it spreads out to 650 thick at the bottom to support all that weight.     

By the time it was completed, the dam would, unfortunately, take 107 lives, many of them from the sometimes brutal heat of the desert environment they were working in, unintended consequences of an otherwise good public works project.  But with its completion, the dam would put an end to many deadly floods in the area, and it would supply drinking water from the lake and electricity from the hydro-electric generators to millions of people in the surrounding states.  But as incredible as this feat of engineering was, it is no longer the largest dam in the world.  It is now eclipsed by the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China.  The Three Gorges Dam is 7,661 feet across at the top and rises 594 feet above its rock base.    Construction on it began in 1994, and the body of the dam was completed in 2006, but it was not fully operational until 2012.  Although the massive project is an engineering marvel, it is not without controversy.  The 410-mile-long lake destabilized the cliffs surrounding the body of water, leading to dozens of deadly landslides.  Moreover, the lake sits on top of two major fault lines, thus creating the possibility of a “reservoir-induced seismicity” that could trigger earthquakes. 

This fear is not without validity.  If you live in the United States, you may be aware of mild earthquakes that are caused in certain areas of our nation by the practice of fracking.  The process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,”  forces millions of gallons of water into the ground at high pressure in order to induce fracturing of the rock underground and thereby releasing various substances such as natural gas for capture and commercial use.  And as you can imagine, the shifting of those pressures underground can have even larger impacts as one thing leads to another in a sort of domino effect, possibly setting off larger, more deadly earthquakes or sinkholes, or even causing health problems as toxic substances are released to the surface in inhabited areas or as they seep into our ground water, perhaps poisoning us as we extract that water or as it works up to the surface where we harness it for public consumption. 

There are so many unintended consequences to our actions sometimes.  Actions we take can have second and third order effects that positively or negatively affect people in ways that we did not expect, maybe even people that we don’t know.   This is why it is so essential to have God working in our lives.  He sees the bigger picture, and He knows so many things that we do not know and cannot know.  If we yield to His guidance, though, He will ensure that we walk the correct path that is a blessing to others and does not cause unintended harm to others. 

I pray that you will seek Him out today and every day for His guidance on how to live your life so that you can become a blessing to others.

 


Comments

08/05/2016 1:03am

qwlc

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08/08/2016 3:40am

One thing for which I wanna appreciate writer is the presentation way of this blog which is very impressive. Here eveything is very well organized that’s why we can read about unintended consequences very easily about which writer wants to discuss with us.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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