Ouch: All “High Hazard” Reservoirs Under DSOD Require Emergency Action Plans

As if SB 88 wasn’t enough, now farmers and ranchers with reservoirs under jurisdiction of the Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD), and who somehow got a “high” hazard classification, must now have an Emergency Action Plan.  Why, or rather, why now?  The biggest immediate reason is the failure of Oroville Dam Spillway, run by the same Department of Water Resources of which DSOD is a part.  Some legislators with good intent are using an unjust method of making an entire group do it, all at once, regardless of impact.  Other, more cynical folks want to get the spotlight off California / DWR / State Water Contractors.

These reservoirs have been actively inspected by good DSOD inspectors, who require maintenance, repairs, and even replacements as needed.  Owners have acted responsibly, or else they didn’t get to fill their reservoirs again…unlike DWR.

Today there are only 16 months to comply.  Are there even enough engineers to get this all done in time?  This will require engineering in the several thousands of dollars, or more likely tens of thousands, for each reservoir.  Is there any funding available for farms and ranches with minimal cash flow?

What is your best plan of action?

  • Appeal to your state legislator and state senator.  Ask for more time to comply, and a clear avenue to apply for an exemption.
  • Ask Bill Pennington or Russell Bowlus, how did your reservoir get a “high” hazard classification?  Request an answer in writing.
  • Get a cost estimate from an engineer.  This will likely support your appeal for more time to comply.
  • Ask the Farm Bureau, California Cattlemen’s Association, and California Cattlewomen for help.
  • Seek the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation, since there are likely to be lawsuits, if there is not one already.
  • Ask, how can you do this work yourself?  It is not magic, although it likely has to be done by an engineer.  Has someone made a Google Earth or other application with which you can do your own map?
  • Make some progress, even if you cannot afford the time and/or money to get it all done.  Some is better than none when the state comes around.

As I find out more, I will sure post the information here.  More to come on this.

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