The earthquakes hit just days after last year’s near-catastrophe at Oroville Dam, when the spillway cracked amid heavy rains and 188,000 people fled in fear of flooding. The timing of the two small tremors about 75 miles north of Sacramento was curious, and frightening. Were the quakes part of a seismic hot spot that caused the giant concrete spillway to tear? Was the weight of the water behind the dam triggering the quakes? Could all of Lake Oroville be prone to slipping?
Archive for date: December 17th, 2018
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U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman has issued an edict to Arizona and the two other lower Colorado basin states: Come up with a drought contingency plan by Jan. 31 or she will step in and do it for us. Burman is right to throw down the gauntlet. The Colorado River is in trouble. A nearly two-decade drought and the ravages of climate change have reduced water levels in Lake Mead, the lower basin reservoir, to record lows. Hydrologists predict water levels in Lake Mead will likely drop below levels that, under the existing multistate agreement, trigger the first tier of mandatory cutbacks in Colorado River water deliveries to lower-basin states.
Prompted by years of drought and mismanagement, a series of urgent multi-state meetings are currently underway in Las Vegas to renegotiate the use of the Colorado River. Seven states and the federal government are close to a deal, with a powerful group of farmers in Arizona being the lone holdouts. The stakes are almost impossibly high: The Colorado River provides water to 1 in 8 Americans, and irrigates 15 percent of the country’s agricultural products. The nearly 40 million people who depend on it live in cities from Los Angeles to Denver.
Powerful and potentially destructive waves are expected to hit California’s coast through Tuesday, bringing dangerous conditions that have prompted forecasters to urge surfers and swimmers to stay out of the ocean. A deep low-pressure center in the Gulf of Alaska and storm-forced winds are generating the Pacific swell, creating the potential for spectacularly large — and potentially dangerous — waves, said Tom Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.