Oroville Dam Threat

HISTORIC WET WEATHER IN CALIFORNIA NEARLY OVERCOMES OUR COUNTRY’S LARGEST DAM.

HELLO EVERYONE. I’M RICK JACKSON. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY: WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS! AND THAT’S ESPECIALLY TRUE IN THE GOLDEN STATE. CALIFORNIA WAS SUFFERING FROM A RECORD-SETTING 5-YEAR DROUGHT, BUT HAS NOW BEEN DRENCHED BY RAIN AND SNOW.  LAST WEEK, WE TOLD YOU ABOUT A MASSIVE SNOWSTORM IN CALIFORNIA’S SIERRA-NEVADA MOUNTAINS – THAT MELTING SNOW, COMBINED WITH HEAVY RAIN ELSEWHERE IN THE STATE, HAS LED TO OVERFLOWING LAKES AND RESERVOIRS AND NOWHERE IS THIS MORE EXTREME THAN LAKE OROVILLE, LOCATED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.

LAKE OROVILLE IS A LARGE MAN-MADE LAKE, OR RESERVOIR, CREATED BY THE OROVILLE DAM, OUR COUNTRY’S LARGEST. A DAM IS A BARRIER CONSTRUCTED TO HOLD BACK WATER AND RAISE ITS LEVEL. DAMS ARE VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE THEY ENSURE THAT WE HAVE A STEADY AND SECURE SUPPLY OF DRINKING WATER. THEY’RE NOT JUST IN CALIFORNIA, EITHER; IN FACT, HERE IN OHIO THERE ARE OVER 1400 DAMS SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE STATE!

LAST WEEK, THOUGH, THE WATER IN LAKE OROVILLE WAS FILLED PAST THE BRIM AND WATER SPILLED OUT ONTO A PART OF THE DAM DESIGNED TO HANDLE THE OVERFLOW -- CALLED A SPILLWAY. BUT THE SPILLWAY BROKE AND THE OVERFLOWING WATER RUSHED INTO THE RARELY-USED EMERGENCY SPILLWAY. NEARLY 200,000 RESIDENTS IN THE NEARBY TOWN WERE FORCED TO EVACUATE.  UP NEXT, WE HEAD TO CALIFORNIA TO HEAR MORE ABOUT OROVILLE’S WATER WOES.

[PKG]


Instructional Links


Website Article: KQED, Oroville Update: Lake Inches Upward as Big Storm Moves On | Includes video of spillway at highest.

Website Article: Association of State Dam Safety Officials, Introduction to Dams | Includes articles on dam safety, including California.

Interactive Map: Ohio Division of Natural Resources, Ohio Dam Locator | Use plus sign to enlarge map. Interactive features include drawing & measuring.

Website Article & Activities: Building Big, Dams | Introduction to dams with interactive activities.

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