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Where the water would go if SLO County dams burst

Water falls through the Salinas Dam spillway after Santa Margarita Lake filled for the first time in years in February 2017.
Water falls through the Salinas Dam spillway after Santa Margarita Lake filled for the first time in years in February 2017. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

In light of the crisis at Oroville Dam that forced 180,000 people to evacuate last week, operators of the five large-scale reservoirs in San Luis Obispo County are analyzing how information gleaned from that near-disaster could be applied locally.

All five local dams have been inspected by regulatory agencies in the past four years and were found safe, records show. Safety reports, however, show that some spillways are due for repairs.

Dammed reservoirs in San Luis Obispo County, which are regularly monitored and inspected, hold nowhere near the 3.5 million acre-feet of water that can be stored in Lake Oroville. The largest local reservoir, Lake Nacimiento, holds about one-tenth that amount.

Here’s a look at where the water would go if SLO County dams were to burst.

»» Read our full report on the state of SLO County dams as local officials look to Oroville for lessons.

 
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