DWR Prepares for Potential Use of Oroville's Main Spillway


Fully reconstructed Oroville main spillway, March 2019

View of the Lake Oroville spillway on March 21, 2019.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is closely monitoring Oroville reservoir levels and current forecasts. Due to storms expected in the Feather River basin, DWR is taking steps to prepare for use of the main spillway potentially as early as the first week of April.

DWR is following its standard process of notifying regulatory agencies, local law enforcement and local elected officials for the anticipated use. The Department will continue to update the public, media and local partners through emails, news releases and social media.

To prepare for potential use of the spillway, DWR is removing construction equipment from the spillway chute. It will also remove a temporary road below the main spillway that has been utilized during construction. The road will be removed to minimize water quality impacts. Some turbidity is expected while the road is being removed.

Downstream monitoring is in place to track water quality. In addition, temporary cameras and lights have been situated alongside the spillway for observational purposes when water begins to flow down the chute. The information below reflects current reservoir level estimates. Forecasts can change quickly and may affect the estimates provided.

  • Current Oroville Reservoir levels: 845 feet
  • Projected Elevation on April 5 based on 10-day forecast: 850 feet

The main spillway and the emergency spillway are reconstructed and able to handle flows as needed to manage lake levels and provide flood protection for the surrounding communities. DWR will continue updating the public, media and local partners.


To sign up for community notifications, contact oroville@water.ca.gov.
Media should contact media@water.ca.gov to be added to DWR’s media list.
View construction time-lapse video, additional construction videos and photos.


For more information, follow us on Twitter or Facebook and read our news releases and DWR updates.

Erin Mellon, Assistant Director, Public Affairs Office, Department of Water Resources
916-704-5529 |erin.mellon@water.ca.gov