This evening the department of water resources held the first of its 7 public meetings, this one was in Gridley.
A couple of hundred people showed up to the meeting, and this was a way for the DWR to be more transparent with the public, which officials said they've wanted to do.
They talked about the recovery efforts, the future of the spillway, and opened the floor for questions for the majority of the time.
“I want to start off by saying I’m sorry, I’m sorry you have to be here tonight, I’m sorry for the impact of this event on your lives on your communities, I’m sorry for the impact on our department,” said DWR acting director Bill Croyle.
Before the meeting, Mr. Croyle said he was there to listen, and answer as many questions and concerns as he could.
Some asked questions:
“Some of my concerns are how the DWR is actually governed,” one woman asked.
Some provided suggestions:
“The DWR screens their employees for drugs, but yet we allow the contractors to screen their own employees… say hey, we're going to screen all of you guys, it’s not going to be up to you it's going to be up to the DWR to screen every employee at this site,” suggested one resident.
And some had plans of their own:
“This is outrageous. I’ll tell you what you’re going to do, you’re going to go back to your people, you’re going to increase flows to the spillway and bring it down to 835 feet, you’re going to keep the spillway open through May, and take all of that snowmelt runoff and put it all in the river and get rid of it,” said one man.
Croyle said they will stay there until everyone's questions have been answered.
He also said they will probably have to reopen the spillway at least once more before they can close it for construction, but he did promise one thing:
“We're going to be ready to pass 150,000 cfs through the spillway by November 1st, that's our commitment to you,” he said.
There will be 6 more of these meetings, and the next one is on May 2nd at the Oroville Municipal Auditorium.More