State Water Project (DWR)

Overview

State Water Project (DWR)

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 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 Sacramento Bee

Editorial: Dam manuals keep California’s water future in the past

The Oroville Dam crisis was about infrastructure. The scare this week stemmed from rickety spillways, not dam management.

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

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 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 Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Blog: Oroville — Managing through a historic challenge

​Just over a week ago, a series of events began to unfold rapidly at Oroville Dam. … I [General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger] had the opportunity to fly over Oroville this past week and I was inspired by the hard work and cooperative effort of all involved. The flood control spillway is in operation lowering the lake level to make room for more storm flows.

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 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

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Beyond Oroville crisis, record rain strains California’s flood control network

The frantic effort over the last few days to lower water levels at Oroville Dam after the structure’s two spillways became damaged is part of a larger drama playing out as California rapidly shifts from extreme drought to intense deluges. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Big-picture questions raised by the Oroville Dam emergency

Heavy winter rains and erosion of the Oroville Dam’s two spillways sparked an evacuation of at least 188,000 people living in the communities of Oroville, Marysville, and surrounding downstream areas. The events that unfolded over the past eight days can inform a more educated conversation about water management going forward. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Endangered fish among the evacuees of Oroville Dam crisis

Days before nearly 200,000 people downstream of Lake Oroville were ordered to evacuate because of problems with two spillways at the dam, there were millions of other evacuees – residents of the Feather River Fish Hatchery. … Why all the trouble for some fish? Spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead are both listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Oroville’s homeless felt stranded during evacuation

On the night Lake Oroville threatened to cascade into town, some of the city’s homeless people were left confused and stranded as panicked residents jumped in their cars and fled in droves.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Oroville emergency a warning for U.S. Dam Safety

The near-failure on Sunday evening of the auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam and the ongoing emergency operations to contain flood waters in California’s second-largest reservoir and shore up its eroding outlet are a tale of caution for the nation’s aging dam fleet. … Dam safety experts cite money as the most significant impediment to safer dams. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California officials rush to drain lake as new storms begin

Officials raced to drain more water from a lake behind battered Oroville Dam as new storms began rolling into Northern California on Wednesday and tested the quick repairs made to damaged spillways that raised flood fears.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Lessons California should learn from Oroville dam debacle

The Oroville Dam debacle is a wake-up call to California. If we heed the call, we may be able to avoid what could certainly be other disasters and wrong turns in the state water system as we head into an age typified by extreme weather events associated with climate change.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Editorial: Oroville Dam — No disaster is an island in California

Californians know about disaster. Still, as 188,000 evacuees began blearily to return to their homes below Oroville Dam on Tuesday, it was with the sense that this one was new.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Oroville Dam’s flood-control manual hasn’t been updated for half a century

The critical document that determines how much space should be left in Lake Oroville for flood control during the rainy season hasn’t been updated since 1970, and it uses climatological data and runoff projections so old they don’t account for two of the biggest floods ever to strike the region. … Most recently, the issue of outdated dam manuals came up in the context of California’s five-year drought.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Life near Oroville Dam now shadowed by fears and concerns

Northern California residents, who had spent days at evacuation shelters, were allowed to return to their homes but many stayed only long enough to pack valuables before fleeing an approaching storm that will test recently repaired spillways at the nation’s tallest dam.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Oroville puts focus on dam spillways – aging and some never tested

When operators of Oroville Dam suddenly ordered evacuations on Sunday, it focused a big spotlight on a crucial piece of California’s flood-control infrastructure – spillways. … Some of these dams are getting upgrades, albeit slowly.

Commands