Crews will rebuild a critical dam in Puerto Rico that was battered by Hurricane Maria

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A key dam in Puerto Rico that was severely damaged nearly six years ago by Hurricane Maria will be rebuilt and improved, officials announced Thursday.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will work with Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority on the multimillion-dollar project that is expected to take a decade.

“We are talking about a very complex undertaking,” Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said

Among the priorities is to install an early warning system, something that was lacking when Hurricane Maria pummeled the U.S. territory as a powerful Category 4 storm in September 2017 and destabilized the dam, forcing authorities to evacuate nearby communities.

Crews have since made emergency repairs to the Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico, but officials said permanent work will start soon.

The dam provides water for crops in the region and as well as potable water for more than 300,000 people in the area.

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