Lake Oroville Update - March 11, 2022
Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission
The California Natural Resources Agency is hosting its tenth Oroville Dam Citizens Advisory Commission meeting on Friday, March 25, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The public meeting will be held online and will include presentations and public comment. The Commission will receive brief facilities updates from the Department of Water Resources (DWR), receive a flood risk presentation, discuss public safety partnerships, and listen to public input.
The Citizens Advisory Commission is a forum to provide public feedback from the communities surrounding Oroville Dam. For information on how to join the virtual meeting, please visit https://bit.ly/OrovilleCAC.
DWR conducted the third snow survey of the season March 1 at Phillips Station near Echo Summit. Following a January and February that will enter records as the driest documented in state history, the manual survey recorded 35 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 16 inches, which is 68 percent of average for this location for March.
The snow water equivalent measures the amount of water contained in the snowpack and is a key component of DWR’s water supply forecast. Statewide, the snowpack is 63 percent of average for this date. “With only one month left in California’s wet season and no major storms in the forecast, Californians should plan for a third year of drought conditions,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. The full snow survey news release can be found on the DWR News page.
Governor Gavin Newsom has asked all Californians to cut back water use at least 15 percent compared to 2020 levels. Current water conditions are now available in real time at California Water Watch, a new website launched by DWR. The website will help Californians see their local hydrological conditions, forecasts, and water conditions down to their address or their local watershed. Additional tips on how to conserve can be found at the SaveOurWater webpage.
The Loafer Point, Bidwell Canyon, and Lime Saddle boat ramps are open. The Oroville Dam Spillway boat ramp remains closed for repairs. The Foreman Creek and Stringtown cartop boat ramps are also open.
Intermittent, short duration closures of the Oroville Dam Crest parking lot may occur to accommodate Lakeside Access Road construction activities. The popular walking/bicycling trail across the top of the dam will remain open and parking will continue to be available at the Upper Overlook.
Information on current boat ramp status can be found on the California State Parks’ Lake Oroville State Recreation Area webpage. Scroll down to the link for “Current Launch Ramp Status”.
The Lake Oroville Visitor Center is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pick up the Lake Oroville Trails Map, which shows more than 91 miles of trails available to equestrians, bicyclists, and hikers, at Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (LOSRA) kiosks, the Oroville Area Chamber of Commerce, or the Feather River Recreation and Parks District. The Loafer Creek Recreation Area continues to be closed due to waterline repair (boat ramp access allowed).
Visit the California Parks LOSRA webpage for current information on facility status and campground reservations. An interactive map of recreation facilities in DWR’s Oroville-Thermalito Complex is available on DWR’s Lake Oroville Recreation webpage. Information about the 11,000-acre Oroville Wildlife Area is available on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife webpage.
Current Lake Operations
The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 744 feet elevation and storage is about 1.62 million acre-feet, which is 46 percent of its total capacity and 70 percent of historical average. Temperatures over the weekend are forecasted to be in the high 60s to low 70s and high 40s to mid-50s. Next week’s temperatures are forecasted to range between high 60s to low 70s and high 40s at night. Precipitation is forecast early next week, with a possibility of light precipitation in the Feather River watershed over the weekend.
The average daily inflows this week have been around 3,200 cubic feet per second (cfs). Inflows through the weekend and next week are forecasted to be around 2,500 cfs. Inflows are subject to change based upon on actual weather conditions.
Total flows to the Feather River are 5,500 cfs. Starting Saturday, March 12, the flows will decrease, and by Monday, March 14, the total flow will be 2,500 cfs. Flow in the low-flow channel through the City of Oroville is 650 cfs and flow through the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet currently is 4,850 cfs, decreasing to 1,850 on Monday, March 14. Releases are assessed daily.
The public can track precipitation, snow, reservoir levels, and more at the California Data Exchange Center at www.cdec.water.ca.gov. The Lake Oroville gage station is identified as “ORO”.
All data as of midnight 3/10/2022