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In this Nov. 30, 2017 file photo, a worker walks along the lower end of the Oroville Dam spillway in Oroville, Calif. National dam safety experts say long-term and systemic failures by officials in California and elsewhere caused last year's near-disaster at the nation's tallest dam. The report released Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, comes from experts appointed to investigate the causes of spillway collapses at California's Oroville Dam. (Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

The forensic team investigating the February emergency at Oroville Dam blasted the California Department of Water Resources on Friday, saying the dam’s owner and operator did a poor job of designing, building and maintaining the structure and neglected safety while focusing on the “water delivery needs” of its customers to the south.

Citing a “long-term systemic failure” by both DWR and federal regulators, the group of independent investigators released its final report Friday on the nearly catastrophic fracture in the dam’s main flood-control spillway in early February, which eventually forced the evacuation of 188,000 downstream residents.

The 584-page dissection of the near disaster at America’s tallest dam found that the structure was designed and built with flaws dating to the early 1960s, when an inexperienced designer was put in charge of overseeing the development of the facility’s two spillways. Design flaws were exacerbated by inadequate repairs in the years that followed, making the crisis inevitable.

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