Workers rush to make repairs at the Oroville Dam in California. Footage courtesy Cal OES, California DWR
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The tallest dam in the United States is the site of a major emergency response. California’s Oroville Dam holds a reservoir containing 1.1 trillion gallons of water, providing water—and power—to much of the state. Recent weather events caused it to fill up way above normal capacity. Concrete in the 50-year-old dam’s main spillway, designed to handle overflow, crumbled, forcing managers to use the auxiliary or emergency spillway. Water pouring from the emergency spillway caused damage to the ground below, putting that spillway at risk of collapsing and leading to an evacuation of more than 180,000 nearby residents. The situation has since stabilized and people have been told they can return home, but workers are still rushing to make repairs and shore up the dam ahead of approaching storms.
Read more about the crisis in Oroville and the state of disrepair affecting thousands of dams across the country.
Footage courtesy Cal OES, California DWR
California Dam Crisis: Racing to Avoid Environmental Disaster | National Geographic