Shake-up at California agency after critical dam report
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California restructured a key water agency Wednesday in the wake of a scathing independent report on last year’s crisis at Oroville Dam.
Changes included Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration naming a new director for the Department of Water Resources, the second change of top leadership at the agency since the February crisis at the nation’s tallest dam.
Both spillways at the dam gave way that month, forcing evacuation orders for nearly 200,000 people downstream.
A team of national dam-safety experts concluded last week that long-term, systemic failings by officials at the water agency, which operates the dam, and by regulators led water officials to overlook the original design and construction problems that brought on the spillway failures.
Brown’s administration named Karla Nemeth as the agency’s new director, at a salary of $194,600. She replaces Grant Davis, a Northern California water official who led the state agency only five months.
Other changes included creating a new deputy director job tasked with flood management, dam safety and dam operations. The dam-safety experts had said the water agency lacked a top-level executive in charge of dam safety.