Saturday, March 25, 2017


by Bob Walsh

The Oroville dam and the area immediately downstream is going to be the focus of some intense concentration and work over the next few months. It is now pretty obvious that the entire gate-controlled spillway is going to have to be replaced BEFORE November 1 or the reservoir will be at serious risk. That doesn't count the work on the downstream side of the emergency spillway.

The Oroville damn is a very large earth fill dam, at 900 feet it is the largest in the country. The power house even running at max is capable of running less than 20,000 CFS out of it. That isn't nearly enough to do the job once the snow starts melting and the lake starts rising quickly.

Under normal circumstances in the formerly great state of California you couldn't even get permits in that period of time. Or twice that period of time. Or thrice even. Then need to get a plan, get contracts and permissions and waivers and actually DO the work in less than eight months.

One thing I know for sure. If I lived in Oroville or anywhere else close to that dam I would make real sure my flood insurance was paid up.

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