Oroville Dam, ICOLD President intervenes on the radio
By Michael Rogers and Emmanuel Grenier
Aerial View of the Oroville Dam (photo by California Department of Water Resources)
There is now a rush to repair the spillways at the Oroville Dam in Northern California and lower the water level in Lake Oroville before rain arrives again. It is feared that damage to an emergency spillway could dump large amounts of water into the Feather River, which runs through downtown Oroville. This fear led to the evacuation of nearly 200 000 people living under the lake. The main dam (235m high) was never in danger and remains safe. The Oroville Dam issue started with an unexplained structural failure of a lower part of the 3000-foot-long gated service spillway.