That overflow badly eroded an emergency spillway and sent debris flowing into a pool at the bottom, forcing the closure of an underground hydroelectric plant.“This reduction in flow will allow us to work on the debris pile in the spillway,” Croyle told reporters at a news conference.
He estimated that 150,000 cubic yards of sediment and debris were in the pool.
The rain has started to return in Northern California and will continue over the next few days, but officials aren't as concerned about the upcoming weather so much as the damage already done to the Oroville Dam's already compromised main spillway.
The risk of flooding has dropped substantially, but Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea warned residents Wednesday that they remain in "an emergency situation."Although Butte County sheriff’s officials say there were no reports of looting during recent evacuations below Ororville Dam, there were a handful of burglaries and robberies that targeted fleeing residents, officials said.
Officials at Lake Oroville reduced the rate of water release once again Friday as workers continued make repairs to a damaged spillway and clear debris from a hydroelectric plant.
The other focus by workers at the dam is the eroded emergency spillway, Croyle said.
Rain began falling again in the area on Thursday and it’s not expected to stop until the middle of next week at the earliest.
Hundreds of thousands of tons of rocks and concrete slurry have been dropped into four fissures that threatened a retaining wall of the emergency spillway on Sunday.
They were 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% full, respectively, Croyle said.
It’s a conversation that’s gaining momentum in think tanks and government offices from Sacramento to Washington, and it touches on climate change, infrastructure spending and statewide water policy. Jerry Brown who now leads the Water Foundation, a nonprofit research organization in Sacramento, compared the situation to the state’s years-long drought.“This is a wake-up call,” he said.