DISASTERS: Visitor to California

Flood control is vital in California, where the nightmare is water—too much in the rainy north, too little in the arid south. Key to California's burgeoning economy is a multimillion-dollar system of dams and reservoirs that channels northern water into the fertile but dry Central Valley and the water-starved cities of the booming south. But no flood-control program is watertight, and California's is far from complete. Last week, in the wake of northern floods that cost $170 million and 74 lives, Californians were grateful for the dams they have, but bitterly...

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