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DWR plans to use Oroville main spillway in April

  • DWR plans to use Oroville main spillway in April

About the entity

California Department of Water Resources
Established in 1956 by the California State Legislature, DWR protects, conserves, develops, and manages much of California's water supply. This includes the State Water Project (SWP), the nation’s largest state-built water conveyance program.


Due to forecasted storms in the Feather River basin, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has taken steps to prepare for use of the main spillway. DWR anticipates use of the spillway for the first time since it has been reconstructed on April 2, 2019.

“DWR has restored full functionality to the Oroville main spillway and is operating the reservoir to ensure public safety of those downstream,” said DWR State Water Project Deputy Director Joel Ledesma. “The Oroville main spillway was designed and constructed using 21st century engineering practices and under the oversight and guidance from state and federal regulators and independent experts.”

The information below reflects current reservoir level estimates. Forecasts can change quickly and may affect the estimates provided.

  • Current Oroville Reservoir level: 853 feet
  • Anticipated Main Spillway Releases: between 10,000 cubic-feet per second (cfs) and 20,000 cfs 
  • Anticipated Total Releases to the Feather River: up to 30,000 cfs from Oroville facilities and other natural inflows

DWR may increase releases to the Feather River again later this week to between 40,000 and 60,000 cfs to prepare for forecasted inflows.

The main spillway and the emergency spillway are reconstructed and able to handle flows as needed to manage reservoir levels and provide flood protection for the surrounding communities. Public safety and flood protection are DWR’s top priority in operational decisions regarding Oroville reservoir. 

Oro Dam Blvd. East will be open to pedestrian and vehicle traffic unless flows from the main spillway exceed 30,000 cfs. If spillway flows exceed 30,000 cfs, the road will be closed to ensure public safety. Credentialed media will be provided access past the roadblocks located at Glen Drive and Canyon Drive and can use turnouts along Oro Dam Blvd. East.

DWR has followed its standard process of notifying regulatory agencies, local maintaining agencies, local law enforcement and local elected officials regarding the anticipated use. The Department will continue to update the public, media and local partners through calls, emails, news releases and social media.

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