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Oroville Dam Monitoring Solution

Oct 12, 2021 | Project Highlights, Sensors, Software

On February 7, 2017, damage occurred to the Oroville Dam’s Flood Control Outlet (FCO) structure during flood control operations and an extraordinary precipitation event. With high reservoir inflows, continued operation of the damaged FCO was unavoidable, leading to erosion of the slopes and lower spillway, as well as operation of the Emergency Spillway. During this event, formation of a large scour hole in the FCO as well as rapid headward erosion in the slope beneath the Emergency Spillway structure ultimately led to the evacuation of nearly 200,000 downstream residents. Within a few weeks of the initial spillway incident, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) assembled the Spillways Recovery design team and began to lay out short- and long-term repair alternatives for functional spillways in the 2017-2018 winter wet season and beyond. 

As part of this response, DWR’s Project Geology Section implemented an automated monitoring platform to monitor groundwater and slope stability before, during, and after construction of the spillway repairs. Among other factors, the main selection criteria used to select an automated monitoring platform included: fast deployment (both automation hardware and data visualization), reliable data availability, support for a wide range of existing and newly installed sensor technologies, available to a wide range of users, and be deployed during construction under the Construction Contract (Kiewit retained Terracon). DWR selected sensemetrics as the monitoring platform which met these criteria and successfully delivered a complex and diverse monitoring system composed of vibrating wire piezometers and weirs, in-place inclinometers (IPI) , shape arrays, weather stations, water quality sensors, and automated motorized total stations (AMTS). To date construction milestones have been met and DWR continues to monitor instruments using our industry-leading Infrastructure IoT platform. 

Read the full case study here.

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