Grand Jury issues findings on Ventura County Dam Safety

In light of the 2017 failure of the spillway at Oroville Dam, the 2017-2018 Ventura County Grand Jury investigated the condition of more than 20 dams in or adjoining Ventura County. The Grand Jury found that 14 of these dams could cause significant loss of life and property if they failed. Four of these dams, all under the jurisdiction of the State of California Division of Safety of Dams, are identified as having existing or potential deficiencies.

The Grand Jury also reviewed how a dam failure would be handled by Ventura County. The Grand Jury concluded that dam disaster response  plans follow State of California guidance. However, these plans provide little or no guidance beyond the process of notifying dam management and the Ventura County Office of Emergency Services.

The Grand Jury recommends that the Office of Emergency Services consider working with dam owners and cities to develop and widely distribute dam failure inundation maps and other information to assist residents in planning for dam failures.

The Grand Jury recommends that the Office of Emergency Services work more closely with the state Division of Safety of Dams to monitor and evaluate safety for dams in or affecting Ventura County. The Grand Jury  also recommends that the Office of Emergency Services track the progress of remedial action taken at Matilija Dam, Santa Felicia Dam, Castaic Dam, and Bouquet Canyon Dam and report annually to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.

The public is invited to review the entire report. It can be accessed at; click on the Annual Reports tab and consult “Fiscal Year 2017-2018.” 2017-2018 Ventura County Dam Safety FINAL

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