Lake water levels dropping as crews work on damaged dam
- Author: Ernesto Newman Feb 15, 2017,
Feb 15, 2017, 0:40
Authorities have lowered the Butte County evacuation orders due to the Oroville Dam spillway incident to an Evacuation Warning. They still have not received a permit to return home and are not likely to until the dam is fully repaired before new storms hit.
But federal officials determined that nothing was wrong with the emergency spillway, and said it "would perform as designed".
According to the California Department of Water Resources, the fixes at Oroville Dam - California's second-largest dam - included dropping sacks of rocks into the emergency spillway's crevice to prevent more erosion.
Dozens of schools in evacuation areas below a damaged dam are closed, many for the week.
When reservoirs get too full, their operators release extra water down long channels, or spillways, created to carry it downstream and into safety.
About 180-thousand residents were evacuated on Sunday after the auxiliary spillway failed and threatened to compromise that portion of the dam.
"I've been doing these flood battles since 1978", said state Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber). Lake water began washing into it this weekend and prompted the evacuation order when officials noticed damage on the spillway.
"Obviously any rain this week is not helpful at all", said Tom Dang, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento.
The force of water siphoned from the lake has damaged both spillways.
Speaking late Monday, Gov. "At the time I did not disclose the location where those inmates were going to be housed because it would have posed a security risk while they were in transit".
"We didn't have a plan". "It's not a wait-and-see game".
California's dams are a lifeline to farms that supply fruits, vegetables and nuts to the nation, as well as water to thirsty cities throughout the state, some of which do not see any rain in the summer months. The level was 884 feet on Tuesday morning.
If the lake nears 66 percent capacity, the Army Corps of Engineers will initiate a high-volume water release from the lake into the Kern River. When the deluge gouged out hundreds of feet of the concrete bottom, dam managers eased off those controlled releases. They are being trucked across the dam and dumped into erosion that developed when the emergency spillway overflowed. However, evacuation orders remain in effect for many communities downstream from the lake. "This was a new, never-happened-before event".
In 2005, three advocacy groups complained to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that using Lake Oroville's earthen spillway would cause significant erosion because it was not armored with concrete. He requested an emergency declaration in the states affected by the disaster.
The sheriff said he had received assurances from state and federal experts that the situation was now deemed safe. "The emergency spillway meets FERC's engineering guidelines for an emergency spillway".
The emergency spillway is a 1,700-foot-wide concrete lip above an exposed hillside.
"But we live in a world of risk", Brown added.
The governor defended the state's flood infrastructure Monday and said he welcomed "more scrutiny" as efforts continue.
With blankets, pillows and a little food, Mr. Santiago said: "We're going to sleep in the auto".