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   xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jul 26 12:10 AM

July 26th, 2017: Spillway

Back in February the 770’ Oroville Reservoir dam, tallest in the nation, reached the limit of capacity and overflowed in the
manner which was designed into it. The only problem was it tore the hell out of the spillway, and towns like Oroville and
Thermalito were spared. Although if there were a just god, towns with names like that would have been wiped from the Earth.

Now DWR is fast-tracking repairs to the new spillway so at least two-thirds of it will be complete by November 2017, when the winter storm season starts. But officials want to make sure they get it right, so they’ve turned to scientists for help. A Utah State University team was called in—and proceeded to build a massive model of the spillway, 1/50 the size of the original.

The models are made from wood, acrylic, mortar, and steel, based on construction drawings and, in the case of Oroville, laser scanning data from the damaged spillway. A team of 15 people spent 40 days building the spillway model, which is one of the largest in the lab’s history. Once built, the team tests its strength under different scenarios. About 150,000 gallons of water are recirculated through a pump system that can simulate what’s known as the “probable maximum flood”—essentially the biggest flood the spillway could ever experience, under the most extreme conditions. Probably, the probable maximum flood will never happen, but it’s not impossible. It’s a worst-case scenario that the new spillway must be designed to manage. Oroville’s old and new spillways, and the gate system that regulates the flow of water, have been designed to withstand a probable maximum flood of water flowing at a rate of about 300,000 cubic feet per second, or three times the average flow over Niagara Falls.

“Everything so far that has been proposed has performed very well,” says Johnson. That’s good news for the engineers and construction teams who are rushing to complete the new $275 million spillway. “It’s such an important component of the infrastructure in California.” Water that passes through the Oroville Dam and spillway irrigates crops in some of the most productive farmland in the country, and provides drinking water to parched Southern California. Johnson says that’s why it’s so important repairs are done right. “It’s a pretty critical piece of infrastructure to the whole country, really.”
I guess that’s $275 million over what this model testing cost.
And since it’s so important to the nation send your nickels and dimes to the CADWR.


Diaphone Jim  Wednesday Jul 26 04:08 PM

Dams may be built not to fail, but it is inevitable that they will.
This one will be giant.
I am a little out of range, but will be a short drive to watch.

Happy Monkey  Wednesday Jul 26 04:55 PM

Reminds me of the San Francisco Bay Model. I wonder if they'll turn this one into a tourist trap when they're done with it.

xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jul 26 07:26 PM

I doubt it, this is a lab in Utah that will pocket a lot of money, add it to their resume, and move on.

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