Breaking: The Brand-New Oroville Dam Spillway will be Used this Week

A drone view of the Lake Oroville main spillway in Butte County, California. Photo taken Photo taken March 29, 2018. Kelly M. Grow/ California Department of Water Resources

With high water levels in Lake Oroville and an upcoming forecast of rain, the California Department of Water Resources announced they will use the brand-new Oroville Dam spillway on April 2. It will be the first time the spillway has been used since its $1 billion renovation.

Officials have been preparing for this possibility for months, with heavy precipitation causing high water levels since February. The water flows are estimated to be between 10,000 and 20,000 cubic feet per second.

The last time the Oroville Dam spillway was used was in February of 2017. During the disastrous water incident, the spillway capsized forcing the evacuations of 180,000 residents in the Butte County area. Since then, the spillway has gone through a $1 billion reconstruction.

The newly minted spillway is a state of the art tool for the DWR, that according to them, can handle flows of up to 270,000 cfs. With heavy rain in the upcoming forecast, flows may be boosted in coming weeks.

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