Environment & Science

​California borrows up to $500 million to fix damage at dam

File: Lake Oroville, the emergency spillway, and the damaged main spillway, are seen from the air on Feb. 13, 2017 in Oroville.
File: Lake Oroville, the emergency spillway, and the damaged main spillway, are seen from the air on Feb. 13, 2017 in Oroville.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

California is borrowing up to a half-billion dollars to pay for repairs to the badly damaged spillways at the nation's tallest dam.

The state treasurer's office said Monday that California water officials obtained a $500 million letter of credit last week for the Oroville Dam repairs.

Heavy water this winter tore giant craters out of both spillways at the half-century-old dam, forcing the evacuation of 188,000 people. The state Department of Water Resources is rushing to repair the main spillway before the next rainy season.

Trump announced $274 million in funding for Oroville Dam repairs last month. State officials have not provided a repair cost estimate so far but said Monday they have asked the federal government to pay 75 percent. 

Repairs are expected to take two years.