The reservoir dam that collapsed on Thursday with a loss of 16 lives in southwest China's Yunnan Province was built without the approval of authorities, local police said yesterday according to their initial investigations.
The reservoir, which had a storage capacity of 80,000 cubic meters, had no one in charge of management since it started operations, they said.
The dam, at Daqiao Village in Yiliang County, collapsed after torrential rains early on Thursday morning, killing 16 villagers and injuring another 23.
The downpours reportedly came after a long dry period when water levels in the reservoir were lower than normal.
Faults in its construction resulted in its failure to withstand the sudden heavy rainfall, police said.
Nineteen houses and 40 hectares of crops in three villages were inundated after the accident, causing estimated direct economic losses of 4.64 million yuan (US$560,000).
Local police are investigating the owner, designer and builder of the reservoir and the local government is helping those affected by the accident.
(Xinhua News Agency July 25, 2005)