Lake Oroville dam in more trouble. A Limerick.

Lake Oroville fills up again

Ten trillions more gallons of rain

Will the spillway give way?

It’s too early to say,

while permanent drought fears remain.

In 2005 environmental groups and structural engineers pointed out that the emergency spillway was in dire need of being reinforced, or the whole dam would fail if it was ever used. The claim was ignored, but the stimulus package of 2009 was looking for shovel ready projects, so  more than 32 million dollars was offered for dam repairs, but the Sacramento politicians chose instead to use some of that money on beautification of side-walks and a set of bike-ways for the University of California. Thanks to Climate change the spillway would never be used, and California was entering a state of permanent drought.

So much for spending billions of dollars of climate change research. A quick look at the flood of 1862 would have given them reason to keep the dams in good repairs. Now the cost of repairing Oroville Dam will run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

If a new event like 1862, the total cost to California could be up to 700 Billion dollars, part of that due to failing dams,  unless the dams are reinforced and properly maintained. The rain damage may be bigger than the damage from “the next big earthquake” another sure thing.

Meanwhile, due to debris, the 835 MW power station is out of commission, so all the water has to go down the spillway rather than generating electricity. Lake Oroville Dam has the ideal peak power plant, so they lose more than a million dollars a day in revenue as well.

California is in big trouble, and the politicians are still sticking their heads in the sand hoping it will not happen on their watch.

 

 

 

Published by

lenbilen

Engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, and chip manufacturing. Presently adjunct faculty at PSU, teaching one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

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