Tags: calif. | dam | oroville | ross stein

Officials' Safety Assurances on Oroville Dam Won't Hold Water

Officials'  Safety Assurances on Oroville Dam Won't Hold Water
On Feb, 28 of this year, construction crews dredged he river bed near California's Oroville Dam's incapacitated spillway. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)  

By Tuesday, 07 March 2017 08:44 AM Current | Bio | Archive

For the time being it appears the hard rain is over for residents around and below the Oroville Dam. But that doesn’t mean the danger is over.

Previously, 188,000 residents downstream were evacuated when it appeared that erosion in the spillway — ignored by leftist state officials too busy changing the world to fix the concrete — might cause the dam to collapse.

Complete details can be found here.

Now the water is calm, but it's still causing potential problems.

This time because of weight. An acre-foot of water (enough water to cover an acre of surface area to a depth of one foot) weighs 2.7 million pounds, and when full the lake can hold 3,537,577 acre-feet. More weight than I care to calculate.

The problem now for area residents is not the resting weight, it’s the yo-yo dieting the lake has undergone. Up until the flood the Los Angeles Times tells us the lake behind the dam was only 41 percent of capacity.

Now in only two months the lake is at 101 percent of capacity, which is water weight gain with a vengeance.

People are now worried this colossal weight, essentially plopped down on the bedrock like a fat man collapsing in a recliner, could cause earthquakes. The lake does have an earthquake history.

During the winter of 1974-75 the lake was lowered to the lowest level in history so hydroelectric power plant intakes could be repaired.

Over the next few months the lake was refilled and the region suffered a doubling in the number of small quakes each month until the big one: A 5.7 magnitude earthquake that "was strong enough to crack plaster and walls in Oroville and was felt as far away as San Francisco and Sacramento, where the Capitol’s dome suffered minor damage.

"The 50-person staff of Treasurer Jesse Unruh was ordered to evacuate its office."

The recent drought saw Lake Oroville down to a mere 26 percent of capacity in late 2015, and it took five months to refill.

This time the rain brought the lake back in only two months, which greatly increased the speed with which the extra weight began bearing down on the Earth’s crust.

What’s ominous about the latest lake gain is that almost simultaneously with the lake overflowing there were two earthquakes, one above the dam and one below.

Admittedly they were termed "mirco-earthquakes" at 0.8 and 1.0 on the Richter scale, which are detectible only to seismographs, but some people are still concerned.

Ross Stein, an earthquake expert and founder of the website temblor.net, told the Times, "By all accounts, the situation does not in any way look alarming. But we recognize in the earthquake business that things don’t look alarming until the earthquake occurs."

Which is scant comfort for the people living below the dam and relying on assurances from the same state officials who told them the spillway was just fine.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

It appears the hard rain is over for residents around and below California's Oroville Dam. Spillway erosion was ignored by leftist state officials too busy changing the world to fix concrete. The now calm water still causes potential problems. Scant comfort for those living below.
calif., dam, oroville, ross stein
Tuesday, 07 March 2017 08:44 AM
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