DWR Opens Up Oroville Dam Spillway as Storms Pass Through

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OROVILLE -- All eyes were on the Oroville main spillway Friday morning, as water gushed out of the flood gates for the first time since March 27.

Since the emergency in February, the California Department of Water Resources and their partners have worked in 24 hour shifts, clearing up more than 1.6 million cubic yards of debris, patching up the spillway's foundation, and reinforcing rebar.

The hope was that all of that work will help the spillway withstand the 35,000 Cubic feet per second of water, that needed to be released from the reservoir.

Despite the large hole that remains on the main spillway, the Department of Water resources said it will be used next 10 to 14 days. They said the goal is to reduce the water level in the dam significantly.

Friday morning, Lake Oroville’s water level was at 865 feet.

By the end of this round of releases, they hope to get it to a comfortable 835, out of the maximum 901 feet. That is where it was in February, when they were forced to open up the Emergency Spillway.

While water pours out of the main spillway the next few days, the Hyatt power plant gets a rest. DWR staff will perform maintenance on it, so by summer, it can work overtime.

By then, DWR hopes the main spillway will not just get repaired, but be well on its way to a full replacement.