Americana: Safety Be Dammed

Residents of arid Littlerock, Calif, (pop. 1,500), a farm community northeast of Los Angeles, have a choice of potential disasters. Would they rather risk being drowned, or drying up and blowing away? State officials want to drain the 521 million-gal, reservoir behind the nearby Littlerock Dam, whose water irrigates the peach and pear groves and melon fields that give the town what little prosperity it has. But the 53-year-old dam sits virtually atop the San Andreas Fault. Although the structure has survived severe tremors in the past, seismologists say it is located where...

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