For Immediate Release: 2/8/17
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected]
Oroville Dam Rupture: Dam Maintenance Needed Rather Than Delta Tunnels
Stockton, CA – This morning state engineers, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee, are expected to conduct inspections of the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam. It is reported that a 250-foot-long hole was discovered, causing a halt and reduction in water deliveries.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta responded to the Oroville Dam Rupture:
“According to the American Society of Engineers 2013 Report, there are 678 high hazard dams in California, and 48% of them do not have an emergency plan. Watching the damage unfold at Oroville, it is striking to us that Governor Brown, CA WaterFix proponents, and Department of Water Resources leaders keep telling Californians that the tunnels are the needed fix for updating California’s water delivery system, yet basic dam assessments, management plans, and maintenance are forgotten or put off. The Federal Government had indicated that Oroville Dam needed a further seismic assessment, but the Department of Water Resources stated in 2013 that a seismic assessment of Oroville Dam was not needed. What would happen if an earthquake were to happen near the dam today during this high water event?
“While an emergency plan for Oroville Dam exists, it is clear that something is lacking in maintenance and planning that such a large hole has opened up in the spillway. Clearly, the Department of Water Resources is not prepared to manage the system during wet years.
“The Governor and DWR officials want to spend $60 billion, on unnecessary Delta tunnels, a wasteful expansion of infrastructure that will not address California’s dated water delivery system. What we need is a major investment in upgrading our 678 high hazard dams, and making sure that dams like Oroville can stand up without ruptures during high water years. We need to upgrade and maintain the infrastructure that we have first to protect people and ensure water deliveries. If the tunnels are built, there will be no additional cash from state and local agencies to pay for needed dam maintenance, and locally needed water system upgrades.”