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A 78-Year-Old Dam Could Put Disneyland and Dozens of Cities Under Water, Engineers Warn

10:11 AM PDT on May 17, 2019

    prado damn army corps

    CORONA, Calif. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations Maj. Gen. Scott Spellman, South Pacific Division Commander Brig. Gen. Kim Colloton, Los Angeles District Commander Col. Aaron Barta and District leadership visited the Prado Dam project office here Jan. 9 for an update on the Santa Ana River Mainstem project and a tour of the dam’s modified embankment and outlet works.

    [dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap] damn near the 91 Freeway in Corona is at risk to break and flood dozens of cities and Disneyland, according to a report published this week by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    The 78-year-old Prado Dam lies near the border of Orange County and Riverside and could fail during a "significant flood event" in which an aged concrete spillway could cause the most damage, according to engineers who released their findings on Wednesday. The spillway helps relieve the dam of excess water.

    In a statement, the Corps said it is working with a team of experts to find a solution and reduce "the risks associated with the spillway." They expect some type of resolution by 2021. In the meanwhile, the agency says it is "implementing interim risk-reduction measures."

    According to the report, about 1.4 million people live and work in the 29 cities downstream of the dam.

    “Public safety is our number one priority,” said Col. Aaron Barta, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District. “The primary objective of the Corps’ Dam Safety Program is to review our dams and ensure resources are prioritized to address the highest risks.”

    Prado has never filled enough to cause water to go over the spillway before but with the looming threats of climate change it appears the Corps is revisiting the possibilities of drastic weather events impacting the region. Rain is expected again this Sunday (May 17) in a late Spring that has been unusually gloomy and wet.

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