Capitol Alert

Oroville emergency spawns bill to require spillway inspections

Responding to the emergency at Oroville Dam, a Northern California lawmaker said Friday that he’s carrying legislation requiring state officials to perform annual inspections of auxiliary spillways at Department of Water Resources-managed dams.

The measure by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, comes as lawmakers race to meet the deadline this week to introduce new bills. Levine said in a prepared statement that he also wants to require that dam operators update their procedures and manuals. The Oroville Dam manual has not been updated since 1970.

Crews out at Oroville were working to fortify the damaged emergency spillway as more severe weather heads toward the region. The emergency prompted the evacuation of nearly 200,000 residents on Sunday. They have since been allowed to return to their homes.

“Visual inspections and outdated manuals are not good enough when the potential failure put people’s lives in danger, causes the evacuation of 200,000 people and places California’s water supply at risk,” Levine said in the statement.

“As California’s water infrastructure ages, the Department of Water Resources must take annual inspections of vital infrastructure seriously, because people’s lives are at risk.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago