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Officials Put Oroville Dam Outflow On Hold

@CA_DWR / Twitter

@CA_DWR / Twitter

Update 3:14 p.m., Feb. 27: Water releases down Lake Oroville's main spillway are on hold for about a week. Managers closed the gates earlier Monday.

They say lower lake levels and this week's dry weather will give repair crews up to seven days to pull sediment, concrete and boulders from the bottom of the eroding structure.

Department of Water Resources Acting Director Bill Croyle says inflow to the lake is much lower than it has been.

He says for most of the month they've been dealing with historic levels of storm runoff.

"We looked at 570 percent of average, is what's happened over the last number of days for his month," Croyle said, "and so that's a heck of an inflow into this reservoir and certainly has been one of the challenges that we've dealt with, with an impaired spillway."

Once the debris at the base of the spillway is removed, water levels at the nearby Hyatt hydroelectric power plant should recede.

The plant was shuttered earlier this month when water levels rose beyond the point where it could be safely operated.


Update 12:21 p.m., Feb. 27 (AP) —  Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says removing debris from the damaged spillway at the Oroville Dam will bring officials one step closer to restarting a power plant at the site.

That in turn will help remove water in advance of the spring runoff.

California water officials were slowing the release of water from the Oroville Dam Monday to allow the power plant to start up again after it was shut down amid high water levels. A potential failure of an emergency spillway at the dam prompted authorities earlier this month to evacuate nearly 200,000 people.

Honea says the emergency isn't over yet, and he's asking the public to be patient.

Update, 7:30 .am., Feb. 27 (AP) — California water authorities have started slowing the release of water from the Oroville Dam's crippled spillway.

Department of Water Resources spokeswoman Lauren Bisnett said Monday that the slowdown started at 6:45 a.m. and will continue throughout the day.

She says the amount of water released will go from 50,000 cubic feet per second to zero.

The outflow from behind the 770-foot-tall dam will be stopped for several days to give workers time to clear debris from a pool at the bottom of the spillway.

The debris needs to be removed in order to restart the underground Hyatt Power Plant. The plant helps manage reservoir levels.

Potential failure of the dam's emergency spillway earlier this month prompted authorities to evacuate nearly 200,000 people Feb. 12. They lifted the evacuation order Feb. 14.

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