Our hearts and best wishes are with the thousands of people in harm’s way, and we thank the many agencies, community groups and everyday people who are coming together to help them. Twelve years ago, Friends of the River warned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and others that the unarmored spillway at our nation’s tallest dam was a clear and present danger.
They should have listened. Saying “I told you so” doesn’t help the thousands of people who are in harm’s way. Having these agencies look in the rear-view mirror and say “you were right” in hindsight is not our goal and it’s certainly not enough. This time, we trust our words will not fall on deaf ears.
We have always seesawed between periods of drought and extreme precipitation that can lead to biblical flooding in California and climate change is making these shifts more severe.
We need action! To ensure a safe and reliable water system that protects communities and the rivers that flow through them FOR launched our Point Positive campaign to promote innovative 21st century water solutions that diversify our water system and work with nature instead of against it.
Point positive: Advocating for Solutions
FOR is pursuing four approaches for flood control and water management actions that protect communities and the rivers that flow through them:
1) Identify unsafe dams and levees and shore them up or decommission them. The state should review other dams for dam-safety and flood-control performance issues and then mobilize resources to address their deficiencies. Meanwhile, dams such as Daguerre Point on the Yuba River in Yuba County, Searsville on San Francisquito Creek in San Mateo County and four on the Klamath River should be decommissioned.
2) Invest in flood-control projects that work with nature to maximize public safety as with the Yolo Bypass — it is the only reason Sacramento wasn’t evacuated on Sunday night. Notching or setting back levees reduces flood risk downstream, replenishes our depleted groundwater, and creates habitat for fish and wildlife.
3) Advance sustainable and efficient water supply solutions that reduce risks associated with over-relying on dams for both flood control and water supply. The Pacific Institute, an independent water policy organization, found that California could save up to 14 million acre-feet a year of untapped water through water-saving practices, recycling and storm water capture. Realizing just 10 percent of this potential would increase our water supply by at least twice as much as the new dams under consideration.
4) Stop encouraging development in floodplains below dams or behind levees, and encourage or help people move away from unsafe floodplains.
As our climate changes we must learn to work with nature, instead of against it, by giving rivers more room to safely roam and making sure our existing water infrastructure is safe. This approach increases public safety and groundwater recharge while providing habitat for fish and wildlife and open spaces for outdoor recreation.
MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS AND KEY DOCUMENTS
- Investigators seek cause of accident deep in Oroville Dam (July 23, 2009)
- San Jose Mercury News (Feb 9, 2017)
- CNN (Feb 13, 2017)
- Engineers have known for years (Sac Bee Feb 13 2017)
- Washington Post (Feb 14, 2017)
- SF Chronicle Op-Ed: Avoiding the Next Oroville (Feb 15, 2017)
- To avoid catastrophe (SF Chron FOR op ed 2-15-2017)
- Sacramento Bee Op-Ed: Lessons from Oroville (Feb 15, 2017)
- Lessons learned from Oroville debacle (Sac Bee op ed Feb 17 2017)
- New York Times Editorial: A Parable on Infrastructure (Feb 13, 2017)
- A look at repair efforts spillway this week (March 13, 2017)
- Damage, design flaw of spillway lengthy repair (March 23, 2017)
- Oroville Dam documents kept secret (Sac Bee March 31 2017)
- Oroville Dam repairs (Sac Bee April 6, 2017)
- Public needs answers (Sac Bee op ed April 6 2017)
- Brown blocks public review (Sac Bee April 11 2017)
- DWR water chief says he may release Oroville Dam documents (Sac Bee April 13 2017)
- Groups demand transparency (Sac Bee April 19 2017)
- Managers made errors in dam crisis (AP April 20 2017)
- What went wrong at Oroville Dam (Sac Bee April 25 2017)
- PG&E to re-route power lines (Gridley Herald April 26 2017)
- Resident’s mistrust (SF Chron 6-18-2017)
- Oroville rule curve & use
- Field Working Agreement Oroville Res Reg Manual (highlighted)
- Emergency spillway release diagram Oroville
- Design and General Plan of Oroville Spillways (Bulletin 200 1974)
- MBK Oroville ops manual ltr to DWR April 17 2001
- Y-FFPP Scoping Comments (highlighted) – 08/23/2001
- YCWA Oroville Surcharge Memo excerpts (ocr) (highlighted) Aug 2002
- WG 1st Oroville Letter 2-19-03 (ocr) – 02/19/2003
- DWR first response to Workgroup letter 1 (ocr)(highlighted) – May 28, 2003
- DWR 2nd response to WG oroville letter 1 (ocr) – 12/04/2003
- WG 2nd letter to DWR (ocr)(highlighted) – 1/21/2004
- Oroville ISA offer FOR comments – 6/7/2004
- Oroville Dam joint intervention – FOR et. al. FERC filing 10/17/2005
- DWR Oroville Em Spillway Soil depth ltr 1-3-2006 highlighted (ocr)
- comments on Sutter County Oroville filing SWRCB – March 23, 2006
- Comments on Sutter County Oroville filing CDFG – March 28, 2006
- SWC and MWD Response to Interventions and Settlement Comments (highlighted) – 05/26/2006 – March 28, 2006
- Onderdonk Memo (ocr) – July 27, 2006
- Onderdonk Memo (ocr) Onderdonk Memo (with comments) July 27, 2006
- FORetal_2100dEIS_comments (highlighted) – 12/18/2006
- FERC Oroville FEIS excerpts – Summary of May 2007 FERC Oroville Licensing EIS
- FOR Sierra Club SYRCL comments Oroville relicenisng EIR (text recog)(highlighted) – 08/20/2007
- Oroville RVOS accident report OSHA2-10 (January 21, 2010)
- River Valve Outlet System (RVOS) DWR 2015
- Army Corps Briefing on Oroville Dam (April 7 2017)
- Project 2100 clarification & public process request – April 19, 2017
- DWR Response ASM WPW Oroville Questions – Responses May 9, 2017
- Leg Hearing 5-11-2017 FOR Oroville spillway oversight hearing
- Final Signed DWR Response to Coalition Letter_linked – June 7, 2107
- FOR et al. Oroville powerline relocation MOI P-2100-180