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Crumbling Dam in CA

silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded.USA, Left coast. Veteran

I think this kind of thing has happened before - maybe in the 40's or something, but there was no warning back then - just wiped out a community or two...

"Authorities weren’t taking any chances that an already damaged spillway in the Lake Oroville Dam could give way. The dam – more than 200 feet taller than the 550-foot-tall Washington Monument – controls the water for the state’s second largest reservoir, north of the capitol of Sacramento."

^^ An excerpt from this article about the Oroville dam. Yikes!



  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran


    Here's the one I was talking about - an excerpt:

    On March 12, 1928, just before midnight and mere hours after Mulholland had done a routine walk-through, the dam burst, sending 12 billion gallons of water down the canyon in a 140-foot wave.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited February 2017

    When I hear dam stories like these, it makes me think what would it be like without these dams being built? What are the pros and cons of man-built dams? Is it better to not try and control Mother Nature?

    Anyway, my thoughts go out to those who are affected by the latest one.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited February 2017

    A lot of it isn't just to control nature, but to provide water. I don't agree with it, but at this point in humanity it would mean moving many millions of people which just isn't feasible. A lot of areas of Cali, and even CO are actually desert that people have turned into more livable habitat...but at what costs? CO deals with wildfires and drought all the time, and then floods because of the damage the wildfires cause. The more we change nature to suit us, the more severe the consequences are, including to us. The drought much of CA had been dealing with for so long then causes a lot of structural problems. Things like dams, levees, etc crack under the sun with no moisture, and then when exposed suddenly to an onslaught of rain and melting snow, their integrity has been greatly impacted. When we moved into this house, it had been 2 years since anyone lived here. It's my mom's house, she did maintain it well. But she didn't shower here and so on. And when we moved, the grout in the shower had cracked, and when we used the shower, it caused a waterfall of water into our basement, through the cracks in the grout. The same thing happens with dams, dikes and levees.

    But it's another good reminder about climate change, too. The extreme levels of everything will continue to increase, from drought to storms to flooding to blizzards etc. We won't be able to adapt fast enough and make changes to our infrastructure fast enough to accommodate it. Especially with a government that thinks it's a hoax! At this point all of us are going to have to individually assess our risks and determine steps to take to survive the storms, figuratively and literally.

    Edit to add: Obviously when we dam things up it's an effort to control nature, lol. I meant a difference in intention between an attempt to divert a river that might be in the way versus a way to preserve water for drinking and electricity. I think the lake that this dam is holding back is entirely man-made, which has a whole host of extra risks when you build a lake high above living establishments, where nature obviously "decided" not to put a lake.

  • Pros: Water source for millions of people, and for large scale agriculture in otherwise marginal areas. Electricity, which would otherwise have to come from other sources (e.g. burning of fossil fuels, nuclear which have their own problems with regards to sustainability and environmental impacts. Solar and wind will probably never replace the amount of power produced by nuclear, fossil fuels and hydro.

    Cons: Environmental Impacts. Maintenance. It's not just dams either. Think about highways, electric grid, water and sewer systems, communications. A lot of this stuff in North America is getting pretty old, and will require massive ongoing inputs to keep it all at a level where it keeps working reasonably well.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    It's interesting to think about how our desires to become more comfortable and efficient have really caused a lot of problems all around. For the environment, for our health (far less movement, way too much consumption of easy and convenient foods). The more we remove ourselves from all of those processes that keep us alive, the worst off we, and our planet, get. It used to be that we spent most of our entire day finding food and water and shelter. Now we take all of that for granted, and for what? Are we really better off? We live longer, but do we truly live better? Comfort and ease always comes with a cost. As usual, who has benefited the most from all those changes to how we maintain our very lives?

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I think if someone - anyone sent this kind of information that pretty much spells it all out and really paints a picture - the practical nature of global warming etc. to Trump et. al., it might do some good in convincing them of the realities inherent in the man-made side of global warming.

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    I once worked at a place called the Beaver Museum, which advocated the building of small dams on the watershed as opposed to the very large dams that we are so fond of constructing. This could produce most of the benefits of large dams, but with less environmental disruption and with very little hazard to those living downstream.

    No one was listening back then, and no one is listening now either. We love our huge, monumental projects, it seems ....

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Yeah, probably politicians and construction wanting big projects for the money.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    It seems like the govt never listens to outside groups, especially environmental groups. The govt. couldn't ever possibly be wrong!

    @Fosdick indeed, people like their gargantuan projects to "cement" our place in the memory of the world. Ugh.

    We have a lot of beavers here, they are fascinating. I love to watch them. Though sometimes they flood out the roads, lol.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Spotted this article http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/sikhs-open-their-temple-doors-to-oroville-dam-evacuees-and-strangers-came-pouring-in/ar-AAmYcyk?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=SL5CDHP.

    In part, it says, "Cervantes almost forgot to take his shoes off when entering the prayer hall where the families slept. He dozed off each night with a blue baseball cap on his head, not just for warmth but to keep his hair covered while in sight of the Sikh holy book at the front of the room. He's had to remember to always point his soles away from the stage where the book is kept. And he's avoided eating meat on the grounds, trying to attune himself to the vegetarianism many Sikhs follow.

    For the 38-year-old who picks fruit in the Central Valley's farms, it's also been a moment of humility — and connection he didn't expect.

    "These people are just like me," said Cervantes, who shares a two-bedroom apartment with his wife and three kids back home. "I'm Catholic, but we have the same God. We have the same heart. The same hands."

    It's a very interesting little read...gives some history of how the Sikhs first started coming to California, as well.

  • Would some Mexican beavers be helpful? :p

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Time to watch Chinatown again soon, I'm thinking...

  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    Thanks for sharing that article @silver, I love hearing or reading stories of people from all walks of life getting together and helping each other out. <3

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I've never see Chinatown @Kerome - I checked it out on RottenTomatoes.com - sounds great.

    Glad you enjoyed the article, @Tigger.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It's a great movie and has a nice subplot about dams and waterways in California... quite historic too.

  • @Kerome said:
    Time to watch Chinatown again soon, I'm thinking...

    I love that film!

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited February 2017

    I've got it on hold at the library.

    In the meantime...

    "U.S. 101 was closed in both directions south of San Francisco because of water across lanes and officials said there was no estimate when the key commuter artery into Silicon Valley would reopen.
    Authorities went door-to-door overnight ordering thousands to seek higher ground as creeks and reservoirs overtopped their banks and sent chest-deep water into neighborhoods."

    Excerpt from this article today.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I hope and pray they're able to fix these problems and spend their energy on one of the many not-so-new problems. It never ceases to amaze me how the powers that be can look the other way instead of paying attention to needs like this.

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