Update on Oroville Reservoir Levels and Operations: March 5


An aerial overview of the recently completed Lake Oroville main spillway during Phase 2 of the recovery efforts.

An aerial overview of the recently completed Lake Oroville main spillway during Phase 2 of the recovery efforts. DWR/2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –DWR is closely monitoring Oroville reservoir levels and current forecasts. While DWR does not currently anticipate using the reconstructed main spillway to manage lake levels in the coming days, we may utilize it later this year.

The information provided below reflect estimates at the time of sending. Forecasts can quickly change and may affect the estimates provided.

  • Current Oroville Reservoir levels: 814 feet
  • Projected Elevation on March 15 based on 10-day forecast: 835 feet
  • Current Oroville Reservoir Capacity: 66% of total capacity and 93% of historical average
  • Current Releases from Hyatt Powerplant: 5,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) with planned increases

To prepare for forecasted weather and for storage management considerations, DWR plans to increase releases from 5,000 cfs to 7,000 cfs from Hyatt Powerplant.  As updated forecasts are issued, DWR may consider increasing or decreasing outflow by using Hyatt Powerplant and/or the main spillway, to manage lake levels. 

As the lake surpasses elevation 813 feet (the elevation of the spillway gates), it’s anticipated that some water will seep through the gates onto the spillway as the gates are not designed to be water tight.

The flood operations plan calls for a target elevation of 835.5 feet through the end of February and as low as 848 feet by the end of March. DWR will allow the lake to continue rising past 848 feet through the late spring and summer months to build up water supply storage and offer recreational opportunities.

If the main spillway needs to be used to manage lake levels and ensure flood protection of the surrounding communities, it and the emergency spillway are both reconstructed and able to handle flows. 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

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