Dam transparency

DWR releases documents from independent board

On Monday (April 24), the state’s Department of Water Resources released previously withheld documents related to proposed plans to repair the Oroville Dam spillways following February’s disaster.

The documents, which the DWR initially kept under wraps citing Homeland Security concerns, are three memoranda prepared in March by an independent board of consultants. Such boards are required by DWR and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission whenever changes are made to a dam’s design. In the memos, the board states the main spillway should be usable by November, but that the emergency spillway requires extensive redesign that likely will take two years.

In other dam news, the DWR awarded the contract for spillway repairs to Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., an Omaha-based firm with offices in Fairfield and Oakland. Kiewit’s bid of $275,443,850 was the lowest of three submitted for the job. The highest was $344.1 million.