State Appeals FEMA Spillways Reimbursement

The California Department of Water Resources was notified today that the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services submitted DWR’s Oroville spillways reimbursement appeal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Back in March, FEMA notified DWR that it does not consider some spillway reconstruction work to be eligible for reimbursement based on information DWR had previously submitted at the end of 2018. DWR appealed the initial reimbursement determination and provided FEMA with follow up information and updated cost estimates to support DWR’s appeal, according to a DWR press release.

What is Causing Those Harmful Algal Blooms? Water and Heat

Weather conditions that make this a landmark year, like more rain, could be part of the reason for the algae blooms in Horseshoe Lake, putting the upper Bidwell Park lake off limits for use for the foreseeable future.

Swimming in the lake, for humans or dogs, is warned against, and new city signs say exposure to the algae can kill animals. Those who fish need to take special steps in preparing their catch.

Despite Water Levels, Spillway Release ‘Unlikely’

For those wondering if the gates to the Oroville Dam’s spillway will be opened this summer, the answer from the Department of Water Resources is “unlikely.” The DWR said Friday that levels for the reservoir are full, but stable. The current water elevation of Oroville reservoir is 895 feet. Snowpack from the Feather River has mostly melted, while use of the main Oroville Dam spillway to manage lake levels is “unlikely,” officials said in a press release. However DWR did confirm that if new circumstances arise, causing the department to activate the spillway, the public and media would be notified immediately.

Officials: State Reservoirs Looking ‘Robust’

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced Thursday it will increase the 2019 State Water Project allocation to 75 percent from 70 percent. According to DWR officials, this will be the final allocation for the calendar year. The initial allocation in November 2018 was 10 percent. “This winter’s robust storms resulted in above average snowpack and reservoir levels bringing California a much-improved water year from last year,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth in a press release. “The full reservoirs will provide a healthy buffer for if we return to drier conditions next year.” According to the DWR’s website, a full reservoir provides optimal recreation opportunities and serves as a vital “water bank account” to help California cope with future drought conditions.

With Large Sierra Snowpack, DWR Could Soon Release Water Over The Oroville Dam Spillway

Recent rains and snow pack could force California’s Department of Water Resources to release Oroville Dam’s main spillway as early as next week. Currently, the 2019 snowpack for California is now the fifth largest on record dating back to 1950, according to DWR officials. As of Monday, the snowpack is slightly larger than the amount in 2017 when the state received more rain. However, the winter of 2018-19 has been uncharacteristically colder, resulting in a greater snowpack.

DWR Increasing Hyatt Powerplant Releases, Water Reaches Oroville Dam Spillway Gates

The state Department of Water Resources plans to increase releases from Hyatt Powerplant to prepare for forecasted weather and water storage considerations. Lake Oroville was at 817 feet elevation, about 67.6 percent of its total capacity, on Wednesday afternoon. DWR said in a press release Tuesday that 10-day projections showed the lake reaching 835 feet on March 15. DWR plans to increase outflows from Hyatt Powerplant from 5,000 cubic feet per second, or cfs, to 7,000 cfs. “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,” the department stated in a press release.

Statewide Water Saving Sliding; at Half of Local Conservation Rate

Water saving in urban California continued to slide in August, but Butte County agencies generally conserved twice as much water as the rest of the state. The State Water Resources Control Board reported Tuesday that statewide, water use was down 12.6 percent in August, compared to August 2013. That’s a decline from 13.6 percent in July, 16.8 percent in June, and 20.2 percent in May. The numbers have been dropping fairly steadily since April 2017, when Gov. Jerry Brown declared the drought over, and mandatory conservation targets were dropped. The state actually used more water this February than in 2017, then conservation jumped to 24.8 percent in March, but has been declining since.

Trump Signs Bill Requiring Independent Inspection Of Oroville Dam

President Donald Trump recently signed into law a bill which requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct an independent review of the Oroville Dam facility. The 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill requires that the licensee of the Oroville Dam request the U.S. Society on Dams to nominate independent consultants to prepare a risk analysis. That analysis will be considered with the next safety review of the dam in 2019. Congressman Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, issued a written statement in support of the action on Thursday.

OPINION: The ‘Fix’ In WaterFix Is Certainly Appropriate

A bit of irony has emerged over Jerry Brown’s name for his twin tunnels idea — California WaterFix — because it sure looks like the fix is on. The plan to put two huge tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to carry north state water south has faltered on its own, and is unlikely to advance if it is put to the kinds of environmental and financial review that it warrants.