Authorities ignored California dam warning for 12 years, say environmentalists


On 7 February, a huge hole was found in the main concrete channel that carries overflow water from the Oroville dam to the Feather river. "This time we're going to be on call like they said".

"Thousands of lives were protected [from] the looming prospect of a catastrophic failure of the emergency spillway", Honea told reporters, adding that residents should be ready to evacuate again if conditions change. He'll work as an Operations Supervisor helping to ensure that the Red Cross is doing everything it can to help evacuees.

"We shouldn't see a bump in the reservoir" from the upcoming storms, he said.

The state's Department of Water Resources ultimately argued that the repairs were unnecessary, and federal officials agreed.

He is joining 150 people from the Red Cross already there.

"I think that the warning that was given should have been taken with the utmost seriousness", said Bob Wright, an attorney at Friends of the River, which raised the matter along with the Sierra Club and South Yuba River Citizens League, CBS News reported.

In a press conference today, Croyle said the heavily damaged main spillway appears to be stable given the current flow.

At 770 feet tall the Lake Oroville Dam is the tallest in the U.S. It was finished in 1967.

Currently, most of the state is saturated with surface water, and although there is a need for much more to continue regenerating the ground water supply and filling-up the reservoirs in the southern part of the state, the almost 200,000 residents evacuated due to the crumbling of Oroville Dam, don't even want to hear the word precipitation.

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The dam reached capacity Saturday, sending water surging over the second, emergency spillway.

First they would like the main spillway to survive California's rainy season without having to rely on the emergency spillway, an outcome that's dependent on the continued survival of the main spillway.

The focus in the legislature has been on roads and highways but the danger to people and property at the site of the Oroville dam could set off a more complete infrastructure solution.

"We don't anticipate the water level to rise in coming days, but we will continue to monitor the forecast into the future", Croyle said.

Gov. Jerry Brown said he had requested federal response aid. Both spillways are next to the dam, which itself is sound, engineers say. Our concern is more about what happened 11 years earlier when the concerns about the spillway were first raised by environmental groups during the process to relicense the hydroelectric dam.

In fact, state regulators don't have much statutory authority to force irrigation districts and other dam owners to take any action except during an emergency - such as the one at California's Oroville.

"The dirty little secret on dams is no one manages them as completely bulletproof", Mount said.

"Any type of evidence that might have been there is gone", Eric Holland of the water resources department's dam safety division said.