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Paradise Irrigation District to assess dams after Oroville Dam Emergency

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PARADISE, Calif. - Governor Brown has issued an assessment order to nearly one hundred dams in California after the emergency at the Oroville Dam Spillway.

"The governor has issued these letters to I think over a little less than a hundred dams in the state of California and we happen to be on the list of potential dam owners with maybe some issues with the spillway," said Kevin Phillips, the Interim general manager of the Paradise Irrigation District.

The Paradise Irrigation ("PID") received a letter from the Department of Water Resources ("DWR") and the Division Safety of Dams that required them to submit a work plan for a comprehensive evaluation of the spillways in Magalia and Paradise.

PID went to the Division Safety of dams to talk about the assessment of both dams.

"They had some concerns based on our yearly evaluations that they've seen through some of the pictures and different things like that," said Phillips.

Phillips said some of their concerns were the drains in the spillways and water disappearing.

"When we met with them they did show us some pictures that they were concerned of so some of the concerns were the drains in the spillway," said Phillips. "There was a little bit of water that was kind of appearing and reappearing, so it would be disappearing at the middle of the spillway which is what happened with the Oroville Dam situation. I don't think ours is to that point by any stretch but there were some concerns about that."

DWR required PID to hire an engineering firm to help them design a work plan to assess the dams.

Phillips said the cost of what the state will have them do once their work plan is improved is unknown at the time but could range from thousands to millions of dollars.

"We have had many costs that we have budgeted that we have been planning for many years and we now might not have to do those based on what the state is requiring us to do," said Phillips.

PID is looking for grant funds to pay for the cost but is using money out of their general fund in the meantime.

"If it gets to the point where it's a million dollars we're going to have to raise rates that will be coming out of the rate payers pockets," said Phillips.

Phillips said both dams and spillways are completely safe. They had no issues last rainy season and don't believe they will next rainy season.

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