Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report

The Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report became public in January 2018. The story it tells is remarkably similar to the one we assumed, based on publicly available information in the aftermath of the accident. As risk advisers and managers we discuss below the various statements in the Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report. We aim at highlighting risk biases and potential management changes to avoid similar developments. Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report Conclusions Commented The Independent Forensic Team Report made a number…

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Oroville Dam risks became unmanageable?

In the case of Oroville dam, the population exposed to the potential dam failure has increased significantly. Normalization of deviance increased the probability of failure. So is it possible that Oroville Dam risks became unmanageable because of that? Oroville Dam risks became unmanageable? When looking at risk mitigation the old saying is that you can either lower the probability or lower the consequences. That statement requires some explanation. Indeed what mitigation alone can do is exclusively to reduce the probability of…

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Failures do not happen overnight

Jim Rohn’s quote “Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment, repeated every day”. That quote struck a chord with the recent failure at Oroville dam, as indeed failures do not happen overnight. In Oroville dam “sudden” crisis we can quote various historic deviances Here is a tenative list of historic deviances: Oroville Dam annual inspections carried by State of California Division of Safety of Dam found water “seepage”…

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Resilience and reliability concepts applied to Oroville Dam

So, we are in a conceptual exercise today. We discuss how to apply Resilience and reliability concepts to Oroville Dam. We will stay away from numbers, as we do not know them. Oroville Dam system A catchment area of 3,607 sq mi (9,340 km2) brings water to the Feather River Valley upstream of the dam location. The Oroville dam bars the Feather River Valley  mainly for water supply, hydroelectricity generation and flood control. The Dam’s design and building procedure complied…

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