Heavy storms have significantly impacted the lives of Californians. Cities have been flooded, in NorCal and SoCal, causing people to lose their homes and everything they owned. The damage from just the rainfall has lead to a series of flood events and neighboring cities of the Oroville Dam, Sacramento may be at risk.
Washington Post, Kristine Guerra reports, “…the emergency spillway in California’s gold country was at risk of failing. A craterlike hole had surfaced Sunday. Officials feared the worst: That further erosion would cause the spillway to collapse, clearing the way for a 30-foot-wall of water from the overfull reservoir to engulf surrounding areas.”
The Oroville Dam was established in 1968. After the past five decades, the dam structure grew weak and the spillway was damaged due to lack of care for the infrastructure throughout the years. Because of the drought, the city hasn’t been motivated enough to expend their funding onto a dam that barely holds some water. However, after years of that mentality, they are now paying the price for what they could have prevented. The hillside had begun to erode due to the heavy water flow and state officials are confident the dam will hold through the storms.
Fox News warns, “Communities immediately downstream of California’s Lake Oroville dam would not receive adequate warning or time for evacuations if the 770-foot-tall dam itself — rather than its spillways — were to abruptly fail, the state water agency that operates the nation’s tallest dam repeatedly advised federal regulators a half-decade ago.”
Fellow UC Merced students, if you know of family and or friends that reside near Oroville Dam, make sure the risks are known and actions of precaution are taken as soon as possible for safety.