One Year after Oroville Evacuation, Legislature Passes Gallagher Dam Safety Bill
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Exactly one year ago today, hundreds of thousands of North Sacramento Valley residents were forced to evacuate their homes as the result of the spillway failures at the Oroville Dam. Today, on the one year anniversary of this mass evacuation, the legislature passed Assemblyman Gallagher’s (R-Yuba City) dam safety legislation, AB 1270.
On February 7th, after releasing water from series of heavy storms, the spillway at Oroville dam collapsed. Authorities were forced to use the untested emergency spillway, which also eroded, forcing the evacuation of almost 200,000 people. Had the emergency spillway broken, a three-story wall of water would have come down the Feather River, causing unimaginable destruction to communities downstream.
“The Oroville disaster jeopardized lives, property, and California’s water supply and conveyance system. The silver lining is that the crisis highlighted that we must do more to ensure we are taking care of vital infrastructure, like the levees and dams that protect our communities. AB 1270 will help us do this by ensuring that California leads national and global efforts to update and modernize dam safety requirements,” said Gallagher.
AB 1270 will require the Department of Water resources to work with independent dam safety and risk management organizations to update dam safety protocols. These protocols must include things identified the by the forensic team as contributing to the spillway failure, like the review of the original design and construction of dams and auxiliary structures like spillways.
“Most of our dams are over fifty years old, and many are considered high-risk. We must do the necessary work to identify deficiencies and correct them,” added Senator Nielsen, a co-author of the bill.
AB 1270 now heads to the Governor’s desk where, if signed, it would take effect immediately.
For more information on Assemblyman Gallagher, and to track legislation visit www.assembly.ca.gov/Gallagher