Completed in the late 1960s, when Ronald Reagan was governor of California, the Oroville Dam is currently in danger of collapsing, sparking fears of possible flooding.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from nearby counties after erosion damaged two of the dam’s spillways. It is said that, with the emergency evacuation orders in place, there are local schools and services that will be closed.
The nightmare scenario, as surmised by the Los Angeles Times, is that millions of gallons of uncontrolled water would pour down the Feather River, the largest tributary to the Sacramento River, California’s largest river, overwhelming towns along its banks.
There are a number of critical concerns regarding the flooding. According to The Atlantic, the Oroville Dam crisis exposes the flaws in Trump’s infrastructure plan, stating that this potential disaster “probably wouldn’t be averted by the kind of privatized investment that the president has in mind.”
On the other hand, many are discontent, saying that it is the fault of state and federal officials who did not heed the safety warnings about Oroville more than a decade ago. In response to the uproar, state officials have denied allegations that there was lax safety oversight at the Oroville Dam, despite a report of previous warnings about the emergency spillway.
Certain media critics argue that the Oroville Dam fiasco should be considered a wake-up call to not only California but also the entire nation. They say that Americans may be able to prevent other catastrophes if they take the notices seriously. In order to combat climate change and extreme weather that place substantial stress on America’s aging infrastructure, it is crucial to heed all warnings and to avoid any type of life-threatening event in the future.
*Information for this article was taken from The Sacramento Bee.