CoreLogic: $13.3B in Reconstruction at Risk in Northern California Dam Failure
Feb 17 2017 by Larry Hoffman
The water level of Lake Oroville dropped on Monday, slightly easing fears of a catastrophic collapse.
180,000 people evacuated from area around a huge USA dam have been told they can go back to their homes. Mackay is about 95 miles west of Idaho Falls.
A California dam inspector said authorities may never know the exact cause of the earth and concrete blow-outs below the dam. "It actually made the dam stronger". But almost half of the state's dams, including 69 rated as high hazard, are exempt from regulation and government inspections because they're classified as farm ponds.
"We have a very rigorous schedule of inspections that is determined by state and federal regulators", said spokesman Eric See. The target is to lower the lake's water level by 15 metres, according to the California Department of Water Resources. Failure could put human lives, environment and property at risk. With the reservoir nearing the top of the 770-foot-high dam, dam operators were forced to keep using the main spillway despite increasing damage to it from the rushing water.
The Central Valley Project, operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, irrigates more than 3 million acres of farms and provides enough drinking water for more than 1 million people.
"We have a pretty rigorous dam safety review", Coffey said. Coffey said it's been cited as a model around the world. "It was like people weren't paying attention to other people". "In preparation for the storm season, for instance, there are certain protocols to check that the lakes can take in that giant gulp of water, but also to make sure the integrity of the dams remain secure".
He added that the spillway is stable and they are making "great progress".
She said when she first heard about the dam's problems, she didn't believe it. The state does not require them.
Roughly 50,047 single- and multi-family residential homes could be damaged with an estimated reconstruction cost value of $13.3 billion if the Oroville Dam in California were to fail completely, according to new data analysis from CoreLogic that included the six primary counties in that area.
"Any type of evidence that might have been there is gone", Eric Holland of the water resources department's dam safety division said. The estimate was from $11 million to $20 million, Falk said, and the pool has remained restricted.
One possible avenue for federal funding is a legislation that President Barack Obama signed last December, Hale said. "That allows us to continue to prepare for future wet weather and runoff". Army Corps of Engineers increased flows from Lucky Peak Dam Monday to 750 cfs through Boise from 250 cfs.