(KRON) Officials monitoring the stricken Oroville Dam in Northern California say they’re confident the damaged spillway and eroded hillside can withstand approaching storms.
Department of Water Resources Acting Director Bill Croyle said Thursday that officials identified three areas where erosion caused the most concern about potential flooding.
He says one area has been 100 percent repaired, while the others were 25 percent and 69 percent fixed.
Croyle says officials are reducing the amount of water released from the lake, but he still expects the level to continue falling through the duration of storms forecast in the coming days.
With less water flowing down the dam’s spillway, officials hope to clear debris that threatens a hydroelectric power plant at the base of the dam.
Officials had been releasing 100,000 cubic feet of water, or enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, each second from the lake since Sunday, when the sheriff ordered an immediate evacuation. They didn’t say how much water is now being released.
The American Red Cross continues to feed and shelter some 1,500 people in Northern California where authorities have lifted the mandatory evacuation order for almost 200,000 people near the Oroville Dam spillway.
While the risk has been reduced, the region is expected to see several inches of rain in the next few days. Red Cross workers will remain in place in the event that anyone has to evacuate again.
Last week, the Department of Water Resources discovered a massive crater in the concrete-lined spillway.
Later, the emergency spillway was used. But erosion began to progress up the right side, prompting authorities to order an evacuation of 188,000 people. Most have returned home.