California’s dams need repairs to survive future major flood, says author

California’s Whittier Narrows Dam is more than 50 feet tall, and is part of the Los Angeles County Drainage Area flood control system. However, “Deep Water” author Jacques Leslie says many of the state’s dams are old and need repairs. Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District (CC BY-ND 2.0).

A recent UCLA study says that in the next 40 years, California could likely see a flood massive enough to cause nearly $1 trillion of damage, force millions of people to evacuate, and leave houses in California’s Central Valley 30 to 40 feet underwater. And the state is ill-prepared when it comes to infrastructure like dams that could prevent flooding.



  • Jacques Leslie - contributor to the Los Angeles Times, and author of “Deep Water: The Epic Struggle Over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment”