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DWR provides update on construction-related activities for the Lake Oroville Spillways Emergency Recovery Project
By JIM STEINBERG
The California Department of Water Resources has updated its 2018 Lake Oroville Operations Plan to begin construction as soon as possible this spring and submitted those updates to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the California Division of Safety of Dams for approval.
With inflows into Lake Oroville expected to be low this summer due to below-average snowpack and snow water content in the Northern Sierra, the updated plan targets a lake level of approximately 830 feet before triggering more aggressive outflows. The plan provides flexibility to manage dynamic weather in real time.
The current lake level is 808 feet, and the main spillways are at elevation 813 feet. Once the lake level surpasses 813 feet, DWR anticipates some water will pass through the gates onto the main spillway. Minimal amounts of water have passed through the main spillway gates since original construction, and the gate seals were replaced in 2014 and 2015.
Lake levels will fluctuate through the year as DWR manages the lake to meet multiple uses and benefits, including flood protection, environmental releases, recreation, salinity control and flow requirements in the Delta, and contractual water deliveries to senior water users locally and to State Water Project water users.