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Happy Presidents’ Day from Aquafornia!

Dear Aquafornia readers,

Aquafornia is taking off Presidents’ Day on Monday, Feb. 20.

We will be back on Tuesday, Feb. 21, with a full slate of water news.

In the meantime, follow us on Twitter where we post breaking water news and on Facebook where we post a weekend water read on most Sundays.

- From the staff at the Water Education Foundation

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Powerful storm pelts California and brings risk of flooding

A powerful storm hit California with the first in a new series of rainstorms moving across the northern half of the state while the south awaited a rains that forecasters said could be the strongest in years if not decades.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

If California dam failed, people likely stuck

Communities just 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.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

How full are Northern California reservoirs and rivers? (graphs)

These three graphs show key California reservoir conditions and river stages for the upper and lower Sacramento Valley. The images are from the California Department of Water Resources’ Data Exchange Center and the National Weather Service.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Bureau says Sacramento River flood maps a secret

Earlier this week Greg Boehle watched as the Sacramento River came into his yard and stopped just a few steps from his home.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Questions swirl around scope of federal probe into California water districts

A reported federal investigation that’s stalled part of a California irrigation-drainage deal does not extend to the small San Luis Water District in western Fresno and Merced counties, a top district official said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Oroville Dam: ‘The threat level – it is much, much, much lower’

Feeling confident they’ve created sufficient empty space in Lake Oroville for the time being, state Department of Water Resources officials said they reduced spillway outflows so they could address another looming challenge: restarting the dam’s hydroelectric plant, which can release additional water when operational.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Oroville Dam: What made the spillway collapse?

Dam experts around the country are focusing on a leading suspect: Tiny bubbles. The prospect is simple, yet terrifying and has been the culprit in a number of near disasters at dams across the globe since engineers discovered about 50 years ago.

Aquafornia news Brookings Institution

Oroville Dam, a reminder that infrastructure challenges go far beyond Washington

Given the enormity of the challenge and the national attention it has received, the events at the Oroville Dam have spurred calls for a more active federal role in rebuilding American infrastructure. However, rhetoric can only go so far in the face of the country’s long-standing challenge to plan and pay for these improvements, and Washington simply cannot tackle such a herculean task on its own. Instead, the Oroville Dam crisis should serve as a reminder of just how much infrastructure oversight falls under state, local, and even private leadership.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Eye-opening effects of the drought-killing storms

You didn’t think the end of the five-year drought would come without a price to be paid, did you?

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Lake Tahoe Weather: 4 to 8 inches of new snow; another atmospheric river expected Monday

The high country in the Sierra Nevada could see more than a foot of snow Friday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Rain runoff may have undermined Oroville Dam’s concrete spillway, report says

Rainwater erosion alongside the Oroville Dam’s main spillway appears to have contributed to the heavy damage that prompted a crisis, forcing more than 100,000 to be evacuated from their homes, a report reviewed by The Times showed. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will the crisis at Oroville Dam become a catalyst for change?

Jeffrey Mount, a leading expert on California water policy, remembers the last time a crisis at the Oroville Dam seemed likely to prompt reform. It was 1997 and the lake risked overflowing, while levees further downstream failed and several people died.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam spillway releases being reduced

Water releases through the damaged main spillway at Oroville Dam were scaled back Thursday to allow crews to reach and remove a pile of debris that has built up at the bottom of that chute, officials said.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Hillsides are ‘weeping,’ falling on California’s mountain highways

As the rain and snow have fallen this winter, so have California’s hillsides, forcing the closure of major roads through the Sierra Nevada and causing millions of dollars in damage.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

A broken levee in Tulare County is flooding miles of farmland

A broken levee in southern Tulare County near Alpaugh has flooded several square miles of farmland and two or three mobile homes are reportedly affected.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

River levels watched with a wary eye as rain returns to Modesto area

The San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers are rising, primarily because of reservoir releases to create room for later runoff from the Sierra. According to the weather service, the Tuolumne in Modesto was near 54.6 feet at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Flood stage is 55 feet.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

What we know so far about problems at the tallest US dam

Officials said Thursday that they are confident the lake behind Oroville Dam will keep draining despite storms expected to dump several inches of rain in the coming days.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Former Pico Rivera councilman files lawsuit to stop Central Basin reform law from going into effect

Former Pico Rivera Councilman Ron Beilke has filed a lawsuit to stop a reform law adding three non-elected officials to the Central Basin Municipal Water District board.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Storm debris mass draws attention in East San Rafael

Meg Jordan was walking her dog along the East San Rafael shoreline this week when she caught sight of something she had never seen before — a sprawling mass of tule grass, branches and garbage floating near Spinnaker Point.

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