Lake Oroville Community Update - November 27, 2019


An aerial picture of Lake Oroville

Aerial view of Lake Oroville. DWR/ 2019

DWR Installation of New Lighting on Main Spillway

Following manufacturer’s instructions, new lighting installed on Oroville Dam’s main spillway will remain on for a continuous 72-hour period as part of activation testing. It’s anticipated this testing period will now take place in mid-December. The public’s patience is appreciated as DWR complies with the light’s activation requirements. After testing is complete, the lights will then be used intermittently based on operational needs.

California Natural Resources Agency’s Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission Public Meeting

Thank you to everyone who participated in the second Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission meeting, which took place on Wednesday, Nov. 20 in Oroville. A summary and transcript of the meeting will be uploaded to the Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission webpage in the coming weeks. Details about the Commission’s next meeting and information about the Commission is also available on the webpage.

During the site visit at Oroville Dam as part of last week’s Commission meeting, DWR referenced a briefing held in May with a team of experts known as the Board of Consultants on how the main spillway performed when it was used in April 2019. A link to the recap of that briefing can found here.  

Spillway Boat Ramp Area Holiday and Winter Access Hours

The winter access schedule for Lake Oroville’s Spillway Boat Ramp provides daily public access to the area from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Motorists are urged to turn on headlights and pay attention to pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Walkers, joggers and bicyclists may continue to enjoy daily access on the pedestrian lane on the lakeside of Dam Crest/Oroville Dam Road from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., as well as parking at the Upper Overlook. These access hours for Dam Crest/Oroville Dam Road will remain the same through the winter months.

Current Lake Operations

The elevation of Oroville reservoir is 775 feet and storage is about 1.9 million acre-feet. Daily average inflows to the lake have ranged between 1,950 cfs to 2,100 cfs over the past week.

Precipitation is expected for the week of Dec. 2 in the Feather River watershed. A change in the weather is expected to begin on Monday night through Tuesday with the basin expecting between five and six inches of precipitation over the next six days. Freezing elevations will range from 4,000 to 6,500 feet enabling snow to accumulate. Beyond this week, the unsettled pattern continues with possible additional systems dropping down from the Gulf of Alaska.

Water demands from Lake Oroville are about 1,700 cfs and actual releases will vary throughout the day and week based upon power generation schedules. Water from the reservoir continues to be used locally for rice decomposition and waterfowl habitat and released to meet environmental and flow requirements in the Feather River, as well as downstream in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Releases for local diversions are approximately 1,500 cfs and the scheduled releases to the high flow channel of the Feather River, downstream of the Thermalito Afterbay River Outlet, are 2,450 cfs.