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Oroville...What If?

We're not dam engineers and in no position to judge the condition of the dam, but if our roads and other infrastructure are any indication...what if?

Mar 27, 2019

"According to national dam expert Scott Cahill of Watershed Services of Ohio, Oroville Dam is on the same failure track as in 2017."  Cahill told radio station KFBK in Sacramento that the "concrete spillway slab is now moving water, which is evolving up through the slab today...Very similar to what it did before the failure (in 2017)." 

The Department of Water Resources issued a statement in response to Cahill's warning saying, "DWR is aware and anticipated some water to seep through the main spillway gates this winter. As the reservoir surpasses elevation 813 feet (the elevation of the spillway gates), some water does seep through the gates onto the spillway as the gates are not designed to be water tight."  We hope they're right.  

We're not dam engineers and in no position to judge the condition of the dam, but if our roads and other infrastructure are any indication...what if?  

Oroville is "largest reservoir in the system, which was built in the 1960s and early 1970s to carry rain and snowpack from the Sierra Nevada mountains to parts of the San Francisco Bay area, Central Valley and Southern California."  Any problem at Oroville would impact the entire state.  We certainly aren't predicting it, but it reminds us of why most dams are constructed.  It's about flooding.  These dams protect a lot of people from flooding as well as being important storage reservoirs.

We would hate to see some environmentalists who want dams removed get their wish and see the effects when Sacramento and other cities down stream experience flooding from the uncontrolled flood flows. 
 
If something catastrophic were to happen to Oroville Dam, it would be good future planning to have something as a backup.  One thing would be to increase other storage projects like raising Shasta Dam or building Sites and Temperance Flat reservoirs.

Do we have to wait for something to happen, or can our state leaders try to get in front of a potential problem?


Expert Claims CA Water Officials Are Flirting With Disaster At Oroville Dam

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