Water Officials Race to Finish $275 Million in Repairs to Oroville Dam Before Next Rain Storm

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Reconstruction continues in a race to shore up the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

California will be racing to finish $275 million in repairs to the Oroville Dam spillways to prepare for the next rainy system, top water officials told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Bill Croyle, acting director of the Department of Water Resources, said the deadline is Nov. 1.

Damage to the spillways in February forced thousands to evacuate from the area downstream of the country’s tallest earthen dam.

Croyle surprised some lawmakers by saying the emergency spillway, a hillside adjacent to the dam, worked as intended by releasing water from the reservoir when it overflowed after heavy rains. Erosion in the hillside could have caused a concrete wall along the rim of the reservoir to collapse, sending torrents of water into the rivers and towns below.

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