Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 10:45

(TNS) — The Lake Oroville spillway crisis and evacuation last February might have only lasted a few days for Yuba-Sutter residents, but the ordeal left many with unanswered questions and a newfound fear of the unknowns of living downstream from an aging water storage facility and system.

Questions about who is to blame for the spillway's failure, how it happened and what can be done to prevent it from happening again continue to resonate with local residents close to a year after the event occurred.

The Appeal-Democrat reached out to community members and officials about the incident to gauge how they were impacted by the event, what the most significant takeaway was for them and what they would like to see changed moving forward.

Their responses varied, but all seemed to agree that there are positives that can be taken from the Lake Oroville spillway incident and the events that followed.

Curt Aikens, general manager of the Yuba County Water Agency:

Aikens said it's terrible any time an emergency evacuation is ordered, but there is a "silver lining" in discovering the weaknesses with the Oroville spillways in an event that didn't overwhelm the levees or end in a disaster.

"I think the most significant thing that will come out of it, is that because of all the attention and scrutiny that this crisis sparked, this community will be safer," Aikens said. "The industry has a good record of learning from these experiences and making improvements to avoid reoccurrence."

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