The California Department of Water Resources is facing a new and potentially very costly lawsuit over the failure of the spillways at Oroville Dam a year ago.
A complaint filed in Butte County Superior Court Wednesday outlines approximately $120 million in losses claimed by more than 40 farms, businesses and other property owners along the Feather River downstream from the nation’s tallest dam.
The suit seeks double or triple damages for the largest claimed losses. Those involve crops and farmland ruined or washed away by wildly fluctuating river flows as the spillway crisis unfolded last February.
"California citizens are bearing the price of DWR’s reckless conduct," the complaint alleges. "... The catastrophe of the 'Oroville Dam crisis' was a major socioeconomic blow to the dam’s downstream communities’ residents and farmers."
DWR has said it does not comment on pending litigation.