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Now California wants the federal government to help them.
 

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From an engineering standpoint there is so much stupid going on their I don't know where to start.

From an irony standpoint....o boy.

 

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So if that dam breaks and the water floods out, is there any chance it will cause southern Ca to fall into the sea?

Nemo
 

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So if that dam breaks and the water floods out, is there any chance it will cause southern Ca to fall into the sea?

Nemo
The San Andreas fault is a transform fault. Worst case Southern California becomes middle California.
 

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I thought San Andreas would make Nancy Pelosi have a sunken island home from that.

Nemo
 

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I just thought of something. If the damn breaks it will wash all those Republican voters right into the front yard of Nancy Pelosi.
 

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I just thought of something. If the damn breaks it will wash all those Republican voters right into the front yard of Nancy Pelosi.
Enough that she might get squished?

Nemo
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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I read some great analysis from an author I follow (John Ringo), based on stuff he learned from his father who literally wrote the book on certain aspects of dam building.

The Oroville Dam was originally built as primarily a generational dam, meaning one that exists to generate electricity. Its secondary role was as a drinking water reservoir. in 2012 the roles were reversed bu the California government. This is critically important because there are huge differences in how the two types of dams operate and thus are built. A generational dam typically operates at 60% full. It peaks around 80% and can be drawn down as low as 40%. A drinking water reservoir is kept around 80% full with the same 20% flex.

A generational dam has a mostly permanent but slow flow through the generators. The regular spillway is almost never used - maybe once every 15 years or so. Every gallon down the flume is less electricity to sell. And since a river can't power a generator 100% all the time, you manage by running at full power when the lake is high and throttle back when it runs low. This leaves the lake ready to absorb a LOT of rain, even a series of major storms without needing to use either the primary or secondary spillway.

A reservoir dam is operated to keep as full as possible as long as possible, especially if the area is experiencing a drought. This means that you are much more likely to operate the spillway to maintain lake levels. You have less room before the lake is full. As such, the primary spillway likely experienced excessive wear and tear beyond its design expectations due to higher use. California did not increase the inspection and maintenance activities on the dam when they changed its role.

The final kick comes regarding the "emergency spillway", which is simply water running over the top of the dam and down the face. As a generational dam, it would have taken a "hundred year" weather event in order to overfill the lake. This is essentially once in the design life of the structure. The face was intended to erode from such an event, but not enough to damage the core. ONCE! As a reservoir dam, this now will likely happen on about a ten to fifteen year frequency. This was why "environmentalists" requested that the emergency spillway be redesigned to accommodate the new operating plan. When was the last time California didn't listen to some environmentalists? In this case, it was civil engineers they ignored.

There is some other discussion on the corruption and fecklessness of California civil contractors regarding properly laying and compacting fill, with unfavorable comparisons to third world operators, but any evidence for or against that has long been washed downstream. But combined with lack of inspection and maintenance, is a likely contributing cause for the primary spillway failure.
 
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