Water from the Cosumnes and Mokelumne rivers floods a house Twin Cities Road east of Interstate 5, Saturday, February 11. Pic/AFP
Water from the Cosumnes and Mokelumne rivers floods a house Twin Cities Road east of Interstate 5, Saturday, February 11. Pic/AFP

San Francisco: Almost 2,00,000 people were under evacuation orders yesterday after damage to the auxiliary spillway of a dam in northern California raised fears the structure could fail and unleash torrential waters.

The reservoir of the Oroville Dam, located 120 kilometers north of the state capital Sacramento, had been completely full after several weeks of heavy rain. The 770-foot dam itself was not in danger of collapse, according to officials, but the emergency spillway was causing major concern due to erosion damage on its concrete top.

Authorities were releasing 1,00,000 cubic feet (2,830 cubic meters) of water per second from the main spillway, which dropped the reservoir Sunday to a level where there was no more flow into the auxiliary spillway. About 188,000 people in downstream communities had been ordered to flee on Sunday.