Disturbing Deficiencies Seen in California’s Dam Safety Efforts

The dam burst on a warm afternoon, unleashing nearly 300 million gallons of muddy water on a Los Angeles neighborhood. Five people died and dozens of homes were swept off their foundations and destroyed. In the aftermath of the 1963 Baldwin Hills Dam catastrophe, the state strengthened inspection regulations, helping establish California as a modern … Read more

In Peril at Oroville Dam, a Parable on Infrastructure

California officials have ordered the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people downstream from the Oroville Dam because overflowing waters could erode the dam’s two spillways and cause devastating flooding. Yet when public interest groups warned of such a threat in 2005, state and federal officials rejected their call to line one spillway with concrete, saying it … Read more

After Frantic Night, Officials say Lake Oroville May Not Top Emergency Spillway

With a break in the weather and increased outflow from Oroville Dam’s heavily damaged spillway, state officials said Friday morning they no longer believe the swollen reservoir will breach the dam’s emergency spillway. After a grim assessment late Thursday, officials announced Friday morning they think they can avoid using the dam’s emergency spillway, which they’ve … Read more