State Releases Data on Dam Safety

  • by Teresa McGaffic
  • Sep 1, 2017
  • Water News

The California Division of Safety of Dams on Sept. 1 released information concerning the condition, downstream hazard classification, and reservoir restrictions for each of the 1,249 dams in the division’s jurisdiction.

“This information will help prioritize where investments in dam safety need to be made,” DSOD Chief Sharon Tapia said.

Condition ratings are based on inspections and comprehensive re-evaluation studies that seek to identify repair needs or other vulnerabilities. A rating of “satisfactory” can only be restored once all repairs are complete.

Downstream hazard classification only pertains to the possibility that dam failure could affect people living and working downstream. A dam in satisfactory condition can be classified as high hazard if at least one person is at risk downstream in the event of a dam failure.

Spillway re-evaluations

DSOD is conducting re-evaluation of 93 dams with spillways similar to the one at Oroville that failed in January. Erin Mellon, assistant director of Department of Water Resources, Public Affairs, said these include large or steep spillways and those situated on softer rock, similar to the geology in Oroville.

“There was nothing in state, federal, or independent review of Oroville or the spillway that would have led us to believe that this failure was going to happen,” she said. “That’s exactly why we prioritized re-evaluations for 93 dams with spillways similar to that one.”

 

More information is available on the DWR website:

DSOD page with links to new lists

DWR Press Release: Updated Information Released on California Dams

DWR Press Release: Statement from DWR about California Dams Rating Information

 

 

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