(FOX40.COM) — Sunday marked the beginning of the 2023-2024 water year and California’s second-largest reservoir is looking 38% better than it did at the start of the 2022-2023 water year, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
California DWR provided a full update on the condition of Lake Oroville on Friday and how they have begun preparing the lake for the coming winter weather.
The lake is around 136% above the historical average average for this time of year, the CDWR said.
As of Sunday, the lake is holding 2.5 million-acre-feet of water and the water level is around 830 feet.
Northern California saw some smaller rainfall this past weekend, prompting DWR to begin releasing water from the lake as more rain and snow is forecasted.
Around 7,500 cubic feet of water is being released from several points near the lake to create more available space for forecasted rainfall.
“Visitors to Oroville Dam may also notice minor amounts of water flowing from drains built into the emergency spillway, which is normal and expected with the emergency spillway design,” DWR wrote in their news release. “The dam and emergency spillway continue to operate as intended.”
The main spillway at Lake Oroville saw its first real test since its reconstruction was completed on Nov.1, 2018, as it passed over 2.3 million acre-feet of water, about 67% of the lake’s capacity, with peak releases reaching 36,000 cubic feet per second.
With such heavy use this year inspectors did find that there is a need for sealant and concrete repairs in localized areas of the spillway, but that the majority of it is performing well and operating as designed.
Those looking to visit the lake this fall will have a chance to learn more about the lake and how it influences the environment along the Feather River during DWR’s educational floats.
On each Saturday through Nov. 11, rafting trips will take visitors down the Feather River along the Chinook salmon spawning habitats as they learn from DWR scientists about conservation efforts, ongoing and planned research, restoration projects and monitoring projects.
Three floating classroom sessions will take place each Saturday and tickets are required.