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Oroville Dam Emergency Puts California Dams In The Spotlight

Credit: John Larimore / Office of Emergency Services

A rainbow is shown over the Oroville Dam in this undated photo.

Oroville Dam Emergency Puts California Dams In The Spotlight

GUEST:

Peter Gleick, founder, Pacific Institute

Transcript

The problems at the Oroville Dam in Northern California have put a spotlight on the state's other dams.

Seventeen of California's 1,585 dams are listed as being in poor condition, according to a story by The New York Times that cites the National Inventory of Dams.

Peter Gleick is the founder of the Pacific Institute, a think tank which focuses on water issues.

Gleick said federal and state governments are underinvesting in infrastructure, especially when it comes to water-related infrastructure.

"You know we don't like to pay taxes and yet the taxes that we pay and the fees we pay for our water and our electricity, our waste disposal, those kinds of things are supposed to pay for maintenance and yet we've just been reluctant to spend some of that money. And what's resulted is problems at some of our infrastructure and a huge backlog of expenses that we need to pay for and I think the crisis at Oroville is just an indication of this bigger problem that we have," Gleick said.

On Wednesday's Midday Edition, Gleick discusses the lack of investment in maintenance and the impact of climate change on the nation's infrastructure.

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