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More Water will be Released at Damaged Oroville Dam Spillway

OROVILLE -- The Department of Water Resources says it will open the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam once again to reduce the amount of water in the reservoir behind it.

Spring conditions are creating greater inflows that can be released through the dam powerhouse.

Spillway structure repairs actually haven’t begun. Instead 1.2 million cubic feet of earth and rocks have been removed from the bottom and sides of the spillway in a massive, around-the-clock operation since the break in winter storms.

Water that will be released will likely go down a channel dug into bedrock by the emergency release of water earlier this year that caused the evacuations of tens of thousands of people in the region. DWR spokeswoman Loren Bisnett said between 45 and 50 thousand cubic feet per second will be released, about half the maximum output when the spillway was fully functional.

“We’ve been steadily watching lake elevations, weather conditions…that’s why we’re preparing for the use of the flood control spillway to make sure reservoir levels are maintained safety,” said Bisnett.

The spillway will open around 11 a.m. Friday and should be in operation for about one week although much depends on the amount of spring runoff that comes from the drainage basin around the reservoir.