Congratulations and job well done to the 1,000+ individuals that had a hand in the restoration of the Oroville Reservoir spillways. The last batches of concrete were placed in the final weeks of October, ensuring the November 1 public safety milestone was once again met. The hard work and dedication of engineers, geologists, biologists, construction workers, managers, suppliers, technical specialists, and support staff have led to the one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of modern times.

We should all be proud that our civil engineering profession was involved in such a monumental achievement. In less than 2 years, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR); helped by other state, federal, and local agency partners, and construction and engineering contractors was able to complete the restoration of the Oroville spillways. Typically, a project of this size and scope would require a minimum of 10 years of design, permitting, and construction.

Think about that for a minute. Think about the sheer magnitude of what we can accomplish when we all come together for the public good. Think about the marvels we can achieve through coordination and collaboration. Think about what limits of the imagination we can smash by combining our talents and skills. This is the sort of thinking that led to the discovery of the Americas, the taming of the West, and the moon landing.

In this day and age, it is all too easy to get wrapped up in our own lives: to be bogged down by work deadlines, office meetings, soccer games, and ballet recitals. We civil engineers can be the vanguard of a new golden age if we remember two things: (1) we’re all in this together, and (2) we can accomplish miracles when we unify toward a common goal.


Michael V. Konieczki, PE, D.WRE
ASCE Sacramento Section President