Hyatt Powerplant Not Expected to Go Offline This Year

Back in 2021 the Hyatt Powerplant was taken offline because of historically low water levels.

DWR announced that the plant is expected to stay online through 2022. On Monday, the lake level was at 693 feet elevation whereas the level had dropped to 628 in September 2021.

The plant is capable of generating 714 megawatts when the lake is at full capacity.

First Step Taken Toward Pipe Bringing Water From Paradise to Chico

An idea to pipe water from Paradise to Chico took its first step Wednesday, when the Paradise Irrigation District board signed off on a feasibility study for the proposal.

The plan might seem far-fetched at first glance, but it would solve a couple of problems. In the short-term, PID needs someone to buy its water in order to stay solvent, as most of its customers were burned out by the Camp Fire last November. In the long-term, California Water Service’s Chico Division needs an additional source of water to ease its complete dependence on wells.

Spillway Boat Ramp Reopens Friday At Lake Oroville

The Lake Oroville Dam spillway boat ramp will officially reopen to the public (at least, on a partial basis) on Friday — more than two and a half years after it was closed in the aftermath of the spillway incident in February 2017. “We are thrilled to announce the reopening of the largest boat ramp facility at Lake Oroville,” said California’s Department of Water Resources director, Karla Nemeth, in a press release. “We want to thank the public for their patience during the Oroville spillway’s reconstruction.” DWR officials also recently gave the OK to reopen public access to the top of the Oroville Dam in late June.

Harmful Algae Found In Lake Oroville, Advisory Warns

The California Water Board released a Caution Advisory for harmful algae blooms Monday in Lake Oroville. The blooms of algae were discovered in the Middle Fork of the lake, according to an advisory released on the board’s Twitter Monday. In another message on Twitter, the board said that water samples collected were found negative for microcystin. However, lab samples are currently pending for potential toxin testing. Signs have been posted near the Middle Fork of Lake Oroville to advise those near or in the lake to take caution. Swimming is still permitted. On June 4, a caution advisory for harmful algal blooms was also issued for the Thermalito Afterbay.

Spillway Concerns? DWR, Sheriff Kory Honea Say No

The California Department of Water Resources released a Lake Oroville community update on Monday afternoon amid rumors of ongoing safety concerns regarding the Oroville Dam’s main spillway. These rumors have been circulated mostly on Facebook, according to DWR Public Information Officer Elizabeth Whitmore. “At this time, the community update should answer all questions regarding any safety issues with the main spillway, as well as concerns growing over the upcoming rain storm,” Whitmore said.

DWR Stops Releases From Oroville Dam Spillway

The state Department of Water Resources stopped releases from the Oroville Dam spillway on Wednesday because of forecasts showing upcoming dry weather. The department said releases were halted at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Outflows from the newly reconstructed spillway started at 8,300 cubic-feet per second, or cfs, on April 2 and peaked at 25,000 cfs on April 7. “Releases over the past 10 days have provided adequate space in the reservoir to help provide flood protection,” said Erin Mellon, assistant director of public affairs, in a written statement.

Oroville Residents Submit Petition To ‘Hold DWR Accountable’ To Federal Agency

A petition to “hold the DWR accountable” was hand-delivered this week by Butte County Supervisor Bill Connelly to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. The Feather River Recovery Alliance is the name of the nonprofit run by local volunteers who organized the petition. It evolved from the local advocacy group Oroville Strong which was affiliated with the Oroville Chamber of Commerce. Specifically, the Feather River Recovery Alliance is asking FERC to not reissue a license to the state Department of Water Resources to operate the Oroville Dam until terms of the agreement are renegotiated, including a new recreation plan. The group says it received 6,469 local signatures on the petition.

Spillway Could Be Used Next Week, DWR Says

The newly-renovated Oroville Dam spillway could be used as early as next week, the state Department of Water Resources said Tuesday. DWR is “closely monitoring Oroville reservoir levels and current forecasts,” the water agency said in a press release. With storms forecast in the Feather River basin, DWR said it is taking steps to prepare for use of the main spillway by the first week of April. Although the state water agency said the spillway was usable in October 2017 if needed, water has not flowed in significant amounts since the spillway crisis in February 2017, when a hole in the enormous concrete structure led to use of the emergency spillway concrete weir for the first time in history and eventually the evacuation of more than 188,000 downstream residents.

OPINION: Groundwater Law Is Critical, But Will Be Baffling

A process is underway that’s extremely important, and likely to be way over most of our heads. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was passed in 2014, which set deadlines for local agencies to come up with plans to manage the water beneath them “… without causing undesirable results.” Undesirable results include things like water quality deterioration, land subsidence and big drops in the water table. The state left it up to the local agencies to determine what their undesirable results were, but Sacramento reserved the right to reject plans that it felt were inadequate and impose their own.

Lake Oroville Continues To Rise As Hyatt Powerplant Releases Stay Steady

Lake Oroville has risen by about 10 feet over the past few days while outflows from the Hyatt Powerplant have held steady. This comes as the state Department of Water Resources announced on Friday that releases from the powerplant were being increased from 1,750 cubic feet per second to 5,000 cfs. The lake level on Monday afternoon was 811 feet elevation, which is 65 percent of its total capacity. Ten-day projections show the lake reaching 835 feet on March 14, according to DWR. The department has said it does not anticipate that it will utilize the Oroville Dam spillway anytime soon; however, crews have been making preparations in case its use becomes necessary.