Racism, sexism, sexual harassment and theft has been alleged against California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR).
A lawsuit filed this week by the California city of Oroville further alleges mismanagement and disregard for the public’s safety, referring to senior state officials as the “water mafia”. The suit demands millions of dollars for infrastructure damage and costs associated with February 2017’s spillover at the Oroville dam, and subsequent evacuation of nearly 200,000 residents.
It is claimed that in 2010 or 2011, DWR supervisors allowed a noose to be hung in a meeting room for several months that was used daily by the staff. The noose remained in the room until an African-American employee removed it, according to the complaint (San Francisco Chronicle).
Drainage channels of the Oroville dam, the tallest in the USA were damaged after a buildup of water that resulted from an extraordinarily wet winter in Northern California following years of drought. Record rainfall included a two week stretch that saw more than 40 inches of rainfall leading up to the crisis.
In May 2017 Steve Rothert of “American Rivers” said, in connection to the Oroville dam crisis that “…climate is already changing, we know that it is already affecting rainfalls and snowfalls and rivers flows, and although there is some uncertainty of the magnitude how things will change, it is clear that things are changing.”