Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017

Dam watch

Spillway releases curbed as atmospheric river looms

How the Oroville Dam crisis unfolded. KQED San Francisco

KQED

Sacramento Bee

Water levels at Lake Oroville continued to drop today, but state officials began reducing the outflow from the dam's damaged main spillway in an effort to clear debris from the Feather River below. The lake level has fallen by nearly 5 feet, dropping to below 868 feet. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service predicts an "atmospheric river" would strike the area beginning Monday, putting renewed strain on the reservoir.

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Spillways are state dams' untested Achilles' heel

McClatchy

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. California is home to more than 1,500 dams, and all of the major ones have spillways to release water in big floods and relieve pressure on the dam itself. All of them have been overlooked — until now.

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In dam's shadow, folks' troubles go back decades

Reuters

For nearly 50 years, the Oroville Dam has provided a water lifeline to residents across the state of California. But for the community in its shadow, the dam has been a source of contention and legal battles. The ongoing crisis has also brought to the surface lingering and looming problems faced by the local community.

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