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I was just going to make this same thread after getting up and seeing the news. I hope everyone is ok!
 

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Should we blame this on the DAM Inspectors or the DAMN Inspectors? I get the part where they have had torrential rains over the last couple months but where the hell were the people who are supposed to be keeping their eyes on this?

We had one of our hydroelectric dams spring a small leak about 10 years ago. They drained the reservoir down to a small stream so they could repair the leak and shore up the rest. The people who owned lake front property went ballistic for 2 years with their precious lake gone but stuff happens and they had to do what had to be done. The lake is back and better than ever now. Public safety takes a back seat to the home owners who lost their lake fronts for a few years and those around here had absolutely no sympathy for their rantings. Sure it sucked and it also had a devastating effect on the fishery in this deep water reservoir but all these dams, we have 5 along this river, were built some 70 years ago and they all require some maintenance and repairs at this point. This one out in California just seems to me a matter of closing the barn door after the horses escaped. Who dropped the ball?

GaryL
 

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my cousin lives near sutter buttes and left her home last night for high ground near sacramento... a different take on "snow days" for the kids i guess.

the emergency spillway had never been used in it's 50+ yr history.
 

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Should we blame this on the DAM Inspectors or the DAMN Inspectors? I get the part where they have had torrential rains over the last couple months but where the hell were the people who are supposed to be keeping their eyes on this?
There was (hopefully "was") a water management problem in California. The "California Water Czar", an Obama appointee that lived in Virginia, didn't know what he was doing. I would bet anything he ordered no water to be released last Oct, Nov, Dec, and Jan or until the reservoir was full and of course then it is to late given the heavy rain fall we have had lately. The old water manager was quoted in the San Jose Mercury stating the water shortages of the last few years were do to mismanagement.

No doubt there will be studies done to see what went wrong and why this happened. Stay tuned. This could be interesting.
 

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my cousin lives near sutter buttes and left her home last night for high ground near sacramento... a different take on "snow days" for the kids i guess.

the emergency spillway had never been used in it's 50+ yr history.
YUP! It just seems the emergency spillway that has never been used in it's 50 year existence now becomes the emergency when it is needed most. Someone out there has their head stuffed firmly where the sun does not shine and this seems rather typical for these high dollar government officials. You can be absolutely sure there is a crew being paid big bucks to do inspections and they apparently are not doing their jobs or the findings they report go unheeded. Now it is catastrophic. Go Figure.

GaryL
 

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"Let's make Global Warming look as bad as we can".. -Secret Obama discussions with Czar..

There was (hopefully "was") a water management problem in California. The "California Water Czar", an Obama appointee that lived in Virginia, didn't know what he was doing. I would bet anything he ordered no water to be released last Oct, Nov, Dec, and Jan or until the reservoir was full and of course then it is to late given the heavy rain fall we have had lately. The old water manager was quoted in the San Jose Mercury stating the water shortages of the last few years were do to mismanagement.

No doubt there will be studies done to see what went wrong and why this happened. Stay tuned. This could be interesting.
 

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That is exactly what I was thinking, droughtifornia wanted to keep all the water for various reasons, with a total disregard to upcoming conditions. The release procedures were clearly not followed correctly and a staff that has never had to deal with this situation, because it hasn't happened, has led to this. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to know how to read a measuring stick, a thermometer and doppler radar to know when to release. And all of this reminds me of the forest fires a few years back. Don't let any water out is the same as don't let the smaller fires burn. I AM pleased that an evac was issued in plenty of time to get everyone out and my thoughts are with those people, who knows when or if they will get to return home.

At the moment the water is below the emergency spillway and they are still releasing from the regular spillway to get the levels down in anticipation of the upcoming rains. I believe that once they get the water down to a certain level, though maybe not as low as they want it, they will shut the gates and start temporary repairs on the spillway hole before the rain comes. The failure is significant because it is allowing water to saturate the earth near the spillway section of the dam and that is what causes a failure, once the earth gets saturated with water there is a mudslide basically and the wall holding the water back collapses. SO filling the hole with rock will reduce the amount of water pressure in the hole and slow the saturation but not prevent it. topping the rock filled hole with fast setting fiber reinforced concrete would do an even better job. I hope they have called all of the cement companies around and have them ready to mix. Damn the cost. (no pun intended)
 

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Also I doubt there has been any civil disaster in the U.S. that was not warned about. The problem is the bureaucracy of getting the problem fixed, the cost and the usually minimal impact on the community. Think about new orleans for a similar situation.
 

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Rhode Trips picture is of what is called the Diversion Pond. About 2 miles further to the left of that picture (water) are the two spillways. This is an area Saskia and I have kayaked a lot as it is about 9 miles away. In my opinion, instead of talking about politics and the administration of our infrastructure, we would profit more by talking about 'personal or family preparedness'. This incident has afforded me an opportunity to revisit the Nor Cal fire event that threatened my town in 2008. This fire became a very big deal and equipment was brought in from all over the country. My observation has been, by the time a formal order to evacuate is given, it can be very close to TO LATE.. Yes, the situation at the dam seemed to be minimized, at least in hindsight, but listening to some news excerpts, there were more than a few folks interviewed that indicated they left their homes in Oroville last Friday when the schools were closed.......... I have a rental a few miles from where I live now. During the 2008 fire, my tenants were ordered to evacuate. Two of the three major arteries out of town were unusable due to active fire. My tenants spent over two hours and got one mile. Seems traffic flow had to be continually interrupted due to the influx of emergency equipment. Not suggesting that officials were doing the wrong thing, cause most of that equipment was trying to make its way through a 'hot zone' and had to be toggled with the evacuation flow. Again, my point really is, you and your Family always need to have a what if plan before 'shit' happens...... Once again, my experience. When the initial alert to evacuate was given, I was in my workshop trying to figure out how to install a new horn and turn signal beeper in my new Honda PCX scooter. What a disaster that is. Anyway, an emergency alert came over the radio around 4:00 p.m. Even though we are a few miles uphill from the Feather River, Saskia has a friend two miles down from the dam and very much on the Floodplain. We scrambled to get more information. Since we no longer have conventional tv we quickly found that getting up-to-the-minute local news from our Roku setup is VERY CONVOLUTED. Using the computer was doable, but seemed to require lots of searching, at least for fast breaking minute by minute stuff. Yes, we now know there are regional emergency website set-up for this very situation, BUT if you don't already have them bookmarked, your search can be frustrating and produces even more anxiety. Yes, the local radio stations got on board soon after the first announcement, but if you wanted 'just a bit more information' before you throw your Family and pets into the car, in my situation, a good half hour would have passed and likely the situation on the roadways would already be congested if not gridlocked.... Again, if a situation has the potential to be life threatening, my recent personal insights suggest having a discussion and pre-plan in place with your Family has some major pluses. Now in my case, this concept is not a new one. For years and years I have listened and generally ignored the suggestion that a family needs to have a plan to evacuate their home in the event of a structure fire. Have to say, it has been many years and a few houses ago since those words of advice had been given much consideration, silly me.
 

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As for the people above who bitch about lowering the water level so that repairs can be made. They are being extremely short sighted.
If the repairs were not made, they could lose their precious lake front for a lot longer if the dam were to fail catastrophicly.


On the up side when a dam fails, it provide a photographic opportunity to get film footage that can be used in future disaster flicks at much lower prices than if they had to build a dam and destroy t for a movie. The same disaster can be filmed from many different angles providing footage for many movies.
 

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