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Oroville Reservoir at record low level, California shuts down their second-largest hydroelectric plant


The Oroville Reservoir reached a record low level of 195.66 m (641.93 feet) above mean sea level on August 5, 2021, forcing authorities in California to shut down their second-largest hydroelectric plant. 

  • This is now the lowest level since the nation's tallest dam was completed in 1967 and the first time the hydroelectric plant was shut down due to lack of water. 
  • The old record was 196.59 m (645 feet) set in 1977.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) State Water Project operations managers have taken the Hyatt Powerplant at Lake Oroville offline due to falling lake levels, California DWR Director Karla Nemeth said in a statement.

"This is the first time Hyatt Powerplant has gone offline as a result of low lake levels."

"However, DWR anticipated this moment, and the state has planned for its loss in both water and grid management. We have been in regular communication about the status of Hyatt Powerplant with the California Independent Service Operator (CAISO) and the California Energy Commission and steps have been taken in anticipation of the loss of power generation."

Image credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, EO Browser, TW

DWR said it will continue to focus on reservoir operations and water storage management at Lake Oroville to preserve as much water in storage as possible.

The department will use the River Valve Outlet System to release some water from the base of Oroville Dam to maintain river temperature requirements and outflows to the Feather River.

“Falling reservoir levels are another example of why it is so critical that all Californians conserve water. We are calling on everyone to take action now to reduce water use by 15 percent, to preserve as much water supply in storage as possible should we experience another dry year. We are all in this together."

As of August 5, the reservoir is at 24% of capacity or 34% of the historical average.

Drone shots from a few days ago show the incredibly low water levels, bathtub rings, and houseboats bunched in tight groups because the surface area of the lake is so much less than normal:

YouTube video

Water levels in other reservoirs in California are also dropping:

Image credit: California DWR

Featured image: Oroville Reservoir on August 2, 2021. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW


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  1. National Geographic & California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has no idea about the basics of the Earth’s climate if he is naive enough to believe that carbon dioxide causes it to acts like it does, needs to make sure that they understand how nature works before waving the red flags of the anthropogenic global warming crowd whose cult they seem to have joined. “Preliminary results for 2017 indicate global atmospheric carbon dioxide was 405.0 ± 0.1 ppm, a new record high.” https://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/2017-state-climate-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide
    Is that what caused the water to flow over the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam early Saturday for the first time in its 48-year history in 2017?

    OROVILLE [Note the date]
    February 11, 2017 05:24 AM
    Water began pouring over the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam early Saturday for the first time in its 48-year history. State officials continued to say they don’t expect the situation to result in flooding in Oroville or other communities downstream.

    While CA politicians worried about climate change, they sat and did nothing to make sure that Oroville Dam was sound and functional.
    Oroville Dam: What made the spillway collapse?

    Is the level of CO₂ being at, on Aug. 7, 2021 415.03 ppm, what is now causing the level at Oroville Dam to be
    24% of Total Capacity?

    The point is, it is that wonderful orb in the sky called the SUN that makes up 99.86% of the total mass of the solar system that causes the Earth’s climate to be what it is and not the trace gas, CO₂, that is 1.6 times more dense than the atmosphere that it resides in and is only between .03-.04% of the total atmosphere. Why is that so hard to understand?

  2. California state’s population expanded seventeenfold within the last century while the global temperatures increase was 1°C only during that same period !!!
    Stop blaming the anthropic global warming !

  3. This is like the Shasta Dam back in the ’80’s when it was predicted it would take 10 years or more to recover. The next winter saw massive rain fall and the dam filled to record high levels causing the Sacramento River to flood.

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