The Oroville Dam Emergency


by James Buchanan

The Oroville Dam in Northern California is in considerable peril. Over 100,000 people in the potential flood plain have been ordered to evacuate. After several years of drought, and the lake suffering a record low, heavy rains in 2016 have filled up the lake. 2017 has brought more rain and heavy snow in surrounding mountains. A concrete-lined primary spillway had to be used to dump excess water. The concrete lining for that spillway gave way, forcing the use of an emergency spillway over an earth wall next to the dam, which isn’t concrete-lined and which has caused a hole to erode in the earth wall.

An L.A. Times article reports “Officials said late Sunday that they will use bags of rocks to try to plug the hole at the head of the emergency spillway, and also will reduce the water level at Lake Oroville to alleviate stress on the spillway.”

An NBC article reports that “Several state water and government officials told NBC News on Sunday they were bracing for possible failure of the top 30 feet of the spillway, which would potentially send one million acre feet of water, uncontrolled, hurtling southward into the Feather River and crashing through several communities that lie along it.”

California is a great example of what happens when a state gets a non-White majority. Liberals obsess over nanny state legislation when they should be repairing things like 49 year old dams.

California has been cursed with the incoherent rule of Governor Moonbeam, aka Jerry Brown since 2011. Instead of fixing the infra-structure, he’s been playing with his train project and obsessing over Global Warming and creating illegal alien sanctuaries.

What’s additionally frustrating about the current Oroville Dam emergency is that we had about five years in which the water level was extremely low due to a drought, which should have given inspectors and maintenance crews a unique opportunity to inspect and repair any problems with the dam.

The Oroville Dam is owned by the state of California. Due to millions of illegal aliens, who contribute little in taxes, but who require a lot in state spending primarily to educate their anchor babies, California has been short on money for decades. California also has one-third of all the welfare cases in the US even though it’s only 12 percent of the US population.

This shortage of funds, due to the liberal reluctance to deport illegals or to do something about welfare parasites, no doubt played a role in not doing some improvements that were suggested for the dam back in 2005.

The Mercury News reports “More than a decade ago, federal and state officials and some of California’s largest water agencies rejected concerns that the massive earthen spillway at Oroville Dam — at risk of collapse Sunday night and prompting the evacuation of 130,000 people — could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe.”

“Three environmental groups — the Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizens League — filed a motion with the federal government on Oct. 17, 2005, as part of Oroville Dam’s relicensing process, urging federal officials to require that the dam’s emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside.”

“The groups filed the motion with FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They said that the dam, built and owned by the state of California, and finished in 1968, did not meet modern safety standards because in the event of extreme rain and flooding, fast-rising water would overwhelm the main concrete spillway, then flow down the emergency spillway, and that could cause heavy erosion…”

As it turned out the primary spillway for getting rid of large amounts of excess water was woefully in need of rebuilding. Either it wasn’t built with enough steel reinforcement in the first place or the soil had eroded underneath it causing its failure five days ago.


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