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All Eyes On Lake Berryessa’s ‘Glory Hole’ As Reservoir Approaches Capacity

For the first time in 11 years, water splashed down the funnel drain at Lake Berryessa last weekend, as people watched from Monticello Dam and a drone flew overhead to capture this historic moment. But was the spill legitimate? Was the federal reservoir fully at capacity after years of drought? As it turned out, the spillage had speed boat assistance. Water craft created waves pushing water the final few inches over the top of the giant, 72 feet in diameter concrete funnel nicknamed the “glory hole.”


Tree Mortality Epidemic In California Forests Keeps Spreading

Drought, pests and overcrowded forests are contributing to a tree mortality epidemic in the Sierra Nevada that’s rapidly spreading, the leader of a state task force says. Aerial surveys by the U.S. Forest Service last year found 36 million more dead trees, bringing the number of trees that have died in California forests since 2010 to more than 102 million, according to the state Tree Mortality Task Force. The mortality epidemic has spread from the Fresno area to Placer County and is continuing to move north, said Gabe Schultz, the task force’s Redding-based chairman.


Riverside County Water Supplier Ditches Most Restrictions

Eastern Municipal Water District dropped most water restrictions Wednesday – moving from measures taken to meet the state’s mandatory conservation orders to encouraging voluntary savings among customers. While state bans on wasteful water use remain, the district board voted unanimously to end its own restrictions and return the water rate structure to pre-drought emergency order levels after supplies increased following heavy rain and snowfall, especially in Northern California. Western Riverside County remains in a moderate drought.


Oroville Dam’s Flood-Control Manual Hasn’t Been Updated For Half A Century

The critical document that determines how much space should be left in Lake Oroville for flood control during the rainy season hasn’t been updated since 1970, and it uses climatological data and runoff projections so old they don’t account for two of the biggest floods ever to strike the region. Independent experts familiar with the flood-control manual at Oroville Dam said Wednesday there’s no indication the 47-year-old document contributed to the ongoing crisis involving the dam’s ailing spillways. The current troubles stem from structural failures, not how the lake’s flood-storage space was being managed.

Santa Clara County’s Largest Dam On Cusp Of Spilling Over

Officials say a reservoir in Santa Clara County is on the cusp of spilling over for the first time since 2006. But KNTV reported Wednesday ( that unlike Oroville Dam, the Anderson Reservoir is not at risk of failure or causing major flooding. County officials are warning nearby residents to watch out for flooding. At 99.3 percent full, authorities are trying to drain the reservoir before storms arrive.

OPINION: More Water, But Still More Controls

California’s water regulators just can’t give up their control of our lawn watering and shower times, despite a federal analysis showing that most of the state is no longer in drought. Even as Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for 50 counties last month due to flooding, erosion and mud flows, and the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is nearly twice average levels, the State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously last week to extend water conservation rules until at least May.


OPINION: Dams Are Like Loaded Weapons. Oroville Could Be The First Disaster Of Many To Come

What is most surprising about the near-collapse of a spillway at Oroville Dam is that events like that have not happened more often. Located 75 miles north of Sacramento, Oroville is the nation’s tallest dam and holds back the state’s second-largest reservoir. Both its main spillway and an auxiliary one have experienced major erosion because of massive emergency releases of reservoir water during this winter’s heavy storms. On Sunday, engineers worried that the top 20 or 30 feet of the emergency spillway could give way, causing devastating flooding on the Feather River.

Oroville Dam: Residents Allowed To Return As Water Level Drops

With the water level at California’s Lake Oroville dropping, authorities lifted a mandatory evacuation order, allowing tens of thousands of residents to return to homes near the reservoir’s dam. But Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea on Tuesday cautioned residents and business owners to “maintain situational awareness” with a series of storms forecast for later in the week. “People who have special needs or require extended time to evacuate should consider remaining evacuated,” the sheriff said. Heavy rains last week caused the lake level to rise until the water began to pour down the emergency spillway on Sunday.

Lake Oroville Critical To California’s Complex Water System

Lake Oroville and its dam in Northern California are critical components in California’s complex water-delivery system. Damage to spillways that are used to drop water levels in the lake and relieve pressure on the dam prompted evacuation orders covering nearly 200,000 people. Here’s a look at Lake Oroville and its place in California’s water system: How important is Lake Oroville? Lake Oroville is the starting point for California’s State Water Project, which provides drinking water to 23 million of the state’s 39 million people and irrigates 750,000 acres of farms.

Dam Our History: What the Oroville Crisis Means for San Diego

The Oroville Dam in Northern California may seem far removed from San Diego. But there are millions of reasons, most in gallon form, for locals to be keeping an eye on the ongoing battle to keep its emergency spillway from collapsing. The dam, as the L.A. Times puts it, is the “linchpin” of the statewide water system that brings water from the Sierra Nevada mountains to Southern California. Its fate affects our water supply. And that’s not all.