California dam spillway water shut off to clear debris

California water authorities stopped the flow of water down the Oroville Dam’s crippled spillway Monday, allowing workers to start clearing out massive debris that’s blocking a hydroelectric plant from working.

Water will not be released for the next five to seven days, in the hopes that workers can remove between 500,000 and 1 million cubic yards of debris by barge and excavator, said Lauren Bisnett, spokeswoman with the Department of Water Resources.

“That is certainly the goal,” she said. “They’ve got to get down and see what’s going on.”

Water managers turned to the emergency spillway for the first time in the 48-year history of the country’s tallest dam after a chunk of concrete tore out the main spillway following heavy rains.

But the flow of water ripped through a road below and carved out deep chasms in the ground, leading authorities to evacuate nearly 200,000 people…

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