The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released this statement from Director Grant Davis in response to the rating information released last week by the California Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD):
“We are in an era of aging infrastructure in California, which requires a stronger approach to evaluating and investing in the facilities that residents and the economy depend on. Public safety is not negotiable, and the integrity of our dams and levees must be among the highest priorities for California.
“We cannot live in a risk-free world, so it’s imperative that we use the most effective technology and information to avoid problems wherever possible.
“Based on what we’ve learned in Oroville and what we will learn soon from the Forensic Team’s report, DWR will strengthen the re-evaluation and maintenance of the dams that we own. This approach requires additional commitment and prioritization of personnel and fiscal resources, which – though expensive – will be a fraction of the cost of recovery should another crisis occur. These include:
·Evaluating the spillways at all dams owned by DWR to identify where potential causes of the Lake Oroville spillways failure may also be present, and make necessary repairs. Many of these evaluations are already underway due to the new spillway evaluation requirement from the Division of Safety of Dams.
·Prioritizing our personnel resources to expedite critical repairs on dams owned by DWR.
·Active contribution to the development of information and protocols for the next century of dam safety. As the innovation and technology hub of the world, California must take advantage of the best minds in science, engineering, and technology to set new standards for dam construction, management and safety. DWR will expand on our current partnerships with academia, dam safety organizations, Federal and State regulators, and other dam owners to establish a best-in-class program.
“DWR encourages all dam owners in California to take a similarly aggressive approach to dam safety, and we look forward to working with them as we learn and share information.”