Oroville Dam Emergency – updated

On Feb. 16

From the Washington Post: The government was warned that the Oroville Dam emergency spillway was unsafe. It didn’t listen.

In 2005, three environmental groups warned state and federal officials about what they believed was a problem with the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway — the same one that was at risk of collapsing this week, after storms caused the adjacent reservoir to swell.

Updates:

From the Guardian, another account of the dam emergency.

And a related story from the NY Times:  What California’s Dam Crisis Says About the Changing Climate

On Feb.15, update from the LA Times.  From Reuters, some of the history and community relations.

On Feb. 16, feds grant CA an emergency declaration for flooding and dam emergency.

On Feb. 21, out-of-date emergency plan and faulty engineering specifications found

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3 Responses to Oroville Dam Emergency – updated

  1. JerseyShoreDave says:

    The Reuters article is an interesting read as there seems to be considerable friction between the state agency managing the dam and the local community. Obviously, recent events regarding the dam will only add to the lousy community relations between the cities/county around the facility and the dam operators. Surprised that the county does not receive a “community host benefit” for having such a large public utility in their community. The benefit will help offset the cost of county services allocate to the dam property along with property taxes lost as a result of the state government operation.

    Sounds like there will be much finger pointing over who is at fault for the current situation. Hopefully, that will not distract from needed attention on the corrective action urgently required at the dam. Also, from a global perspective, it would be a good thing if this incident sheds light on the significant national problem with our dams. Perhaps through the proposed infrastructure program being discussed by the current administration, an investment can be made for upgrading the country’s dam system.

  2. JerseyShoreDave says:

    Happy that they are able to return to their homes. Nothing like being able to sleep in your own bed. Greatly helps with returning to a sense of normalcy. Hopefully officials have the situation under control as it looks like much rain is coming to the area over the next few days. The silver lining in all of this is that the drought is essentially over in California. I am worry about the spring when the snow pack melts but for now one day at a time.

  3. JerseyShoreDave says:

    You cannot make this stuff up … sounds like a bunch of knuckleheads working out there. The emergency spillway was rated by government officials to handle 350,000 cubic feet of water per second and at 3% of the rated flow or 12,000 cubic feet of water per second, the spillway failed causing the dire situation. Sounds like an epic fail on the part of all federal and state agencies involved.

    However, what is more troubling is the manner in which the authorities handled the evacuation of upwards of 200,000 residents. Based on reports, the authorities issued an immediate notice to evacuate stating an impending failure of the structure within a hour. Knowing the deteriorating conditions at the dam, there should have been an advisory issued prior alerting residents of the potential issues with the dam. Telling that many people to evacuate immediately knowing conditions were getting worse at the dam is at the very least irresponsible.

    Finally, find it a bit ironic that California requested assistance from the Trump Administration. Perhaps California officials should reflect on the value of maintaining a working relationship with the new administration instead of issuing ultimatums. Of all the states, California by far has the greatest risk of major disaster.

    Hope everything works out and the residents can return to their homes shortly.

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