Watching the continuing drama at the Oroville Dam in California has been showing all of us one big example of hubris. Between the lack of much needed maintenance (“We're in drought that will never end. Why do we need to fix something that's never going to be used again?”), ignored warnings, the focus of much needed funds towards pipe-dreams, I'd say the state of California is finally receiving the bill for their hubris.
Looking at the original problem, the collapsing main spillway, I have one simple question that no one has answered, to the best of my knowledge, that being “Where the hell is the rebar?”
Watching the videos and numerous pictures that have been appearing on the news and the 'Net, the one think that I have noticed is the total lack of reinforcing bars in any of the failed concrete. If that was part of the original design I have to say that's one heck of a design flaw. If it was part of the original designs, then who remove it, or worse, decided to 'save' some money by eliminating it and compromising the integrity of the spillway?
In either case, a properly designed spillway should not have collapsed like that. In fact, it should have been stronger than the surrounding soil and withstood any undermining. Instead, there is a gaping chasm where there should be a spillway and the structural integrity of the entire dam has been compromised.