Oroville Dam Emergency: Sunday Afternoon Update

Sunday afternoon Department of Water Resources officials issued a statement in which they said the flow of water out of the Oroville Dam Flood Control Spillway is being increased from 55,000 cubic feet per second to 60,000 cfs.

This is being described by officials as a proactive measure that is typical of normal flood control operations and is in anticipation of forecasted weather conditions. The increase is temporary and is expected to better balance water flow in and out of the reservoir.

This announcement coming after word that the amount of water flowing out of Lake Oroville was lowered again on Saturday, according to DWR, so assessment teams could get a better look at debris buildup and dredge those debris piles below the flood control spillway.

Since the emergency spillway began to show signs of erosion that led to an evacuation of Oroville and other communities downstream from the lake last Sunday, engineers have used the previously damaged primary spillway to reduce the lake elevations in an effort to take pressure off the emergency spillway and accommodate expected rainfall through and into the the first half of this week.  Officials say the lake level continues trending downward and had fallen to 852 feet by 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, which 48 feet below the emergency spillway. Several days ago the stated by goal was a level of approximately 50 below that spillway.  As runoff flows into the reservoir, water levels will likely fluctuate but will remain within acceptable and typical depths during times of storm activity, said DWR.

OROVILLE, CA - FEBRUARY 11:  In this handout provided by the California Department of Water Resources (pixel.water.ca.gov), Water flows down the Oroville Dam main spillway at 55,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) February 11, 2017 in Oroville, California. Al

Getty Images

Despite the rain that is now falling in Northern California, crews are still working on the area below the spillway, the monoliths, access roads, and various eroded areas created by emergency spillway runoff. Workers are using rock, aggregate, and cement slurry to reinforce areas affected by erosion.  That work, said DWR officials, will take place around the clock.

DWR continues to monitor the status of the dam, spillways, the Hyatt Power Plant, related structures, as well as progress on repairs.  Video and still images of that work may seen below.

Officials have not scheduled a news conference for Sunday, and they say the next regularly scheduled update will not take place until Monday, President's Day, at noon.  KFBK.com will carry that news conference live, and we will continue to provide coverage local river flooding concerns and provide the very latest information on incoming storms.

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