Wednesday June 7, 2023


The last time Lake Oroville neared capacity was four years ago, and very quickly it plunged into drought territory and has seen low water levels until this winter. And now that billion-dollar, renovated spillway is back in use as the reservoir is back at 99% of its capacity.

The Feather River is getting a fair amount of extra water flow these days as Lake Oroville has been releasing water over the last week. Oroville is California’s second-largest reservoir, with a capacity of over 3.5 million acre-feet of water, and also just about at capacity is the state’s largest reservoir, Lake Shasta, which has a capacity of 4.5 million acre-feet and is at 98%.

Lake Oroville supplies water to over 27 million Californians, and it’s seen a lot of up-and-down “whiplash” over the last six years, as the Chronicle reports. It’s sat at historically low levels the past few fall seasons, recovering only slightly during the winter and spring months. But we’re back up to full capacity with more snowmelt on the way — and the spillway has been in regular use, as seen in the photos below.

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