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Eyes linger on levee system as Northern California bears another winter storm

"I think the most vulnerable places in California right now are rural levees."

CALIFORNIA, USA — Levees span hundreds of miles across the valley, including the Sacramento region. However, many eyes are on local levees with work to shore them up.

During storms, the levee system plays a crucial role in preventing floods, and with an onslaught of water from the current and recent storms, concern is growing about specific levees in the area.

"I think the most vulnerable places in California right now are rural levees," said Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources.

Since the 1990s, billions have been invested to ensure levees function properly. Nemeth said these events put the system to the test.

However, levees in rural areas have different requirements.

"They are not required to meet the same standards that protect our more urban communities," said Nemeth.

On the National Database of Levees, people can find urban and rural levees by county. In the early 1900s, when California developed rights and laws about water, they developed what's called reclamation districts.

"Those local reclamation districts do have 24/7 patrols of those levee systems," said Nemeth.

If they detect water seepage, they work with both the flood operations center and county to get help to fix it. 

According to a Facebook post from a representative from a local reclamation board, they've been working around the clock to repair levee breaches and breaks.


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