Jeffrey Mount, a leading expert on California water policy, remembers the last time a crisis at the Oroville Dam seemed likely to prompt reform. It was 1997 and the lake risked overflowing, while levees further downstream failed and several people died.
“If this doesn’t galvanize action, I don’t know what will,” Mount said he thought at the time. But spring came, the waters receded and no changes came to pass.
That’s because California leaders always talk like this after a crisis, however they just never do anything that looks like actual work.
Now another threat looms in Oroville, where deteriorating spillways forced widespread evacuations, and more heavy rain is around the corner.
State officials have remained focused on quick fixes at the dam needed to prevent catastrophic flooding, but some are already thinking about how the crisis could spur long-term shifts in policy.
Once the rain stops they’ll move on. They really don’t care about the Oroville dam.
Read the whole story in the Los Angeles Times