We don’t usually publish posts about 3D models (there are other websites for that), however the Oroville Dam event is not the a usual event and a 3D model of the map – even better if 3D printed – in this case, can truly go a long way to help us understand really what is happening and where.
Oroville Dam (source: Wikipedia) is an earthfill embankment dam on the Feather River east of the city of Oroville, California, in the United States. At 770 feet (235 m) high, it is the tallest dam in the U.S. and serves mainly for water supply, hydroelectricity generation and flood control. The dam impounds Lake Oroville, the second largest man-made lake in the state of California, capable of storing more than 3.5 million acre-feet (4.4 km3). It is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of the Sacramento Valley.
Built by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), Oroville Dam is one of the key features of the California State Water Project (SWP), one of two major projects passed that set up California’s statewide water system. Construction was initiated in 1961, and despite numerous difficulties encountered during its construction, including multiple floods and a major train wreck on the rail line used to transport materials to the dam site, the embankment was topped out in 1967 and the entire project was ready for use in 1968. The dam began to generate electricity after completion of the Edward Hyatt Pump-Generating Plant, then the country’s largest underground power station.
The 2017 Oroville Dam crisis is a major and ongoing threat to lives and property in Northern California. Storms in early February 2017 caused heavy damage to the dam’s spillway, hindering the safe release of floodwater and threatening the structural integrity of the spillway. Due to the flood threat, more than 180,000 people living along the Feather River have been evacuated.