The Latest on the first use of the nation’s tallest dam in two years (all times local):
California officials say they will start letting water out of the nation’s tallest dam into the newly-rebuilt spillway Tuesday for the first time in two years.
The spillway crumbled in February 2017 as water was being released, prompting 200,000 downstream residents to flee their homes over fears of catastrophic flooding.
Molly White, principal engineer with the California Department of Water Resources, says crews will start releasing 8,300 cubic feet per second at 11 a.m. Tuesday. She says they may increase the water release to 20,000 cubic feet per second.
White says the water releases may be increased during the week as spring storms continue to feed the enormous reservoir behind Oroville Dam in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
Water will rush down the main spillway at the nation’s tallest dam for the first time since it crumbled in heavy rain two years ago and threatened to flood California communities.
The state Department of Water Resources anticipates releasing water down the spillway at Oroville Dam as early as Tuesday due to stormy weather.
The spring storms follow a very wet winter that coated the mountains with thick snowpack. State experts will coincidentally measure the snowpack Tuesday to determine the outlook for California’s water supplies.
In early 2017, the dam’s half-century-old spillway broke apart as it carried heavy flows from storms. That drove nearly 200,000 people from their homes over fears of catastrophic flooding.
Rebuilding the massive spillway and other repairs have cost $1.1 billion.