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Update on Oroville Facilities

Lake Oroville and Oroville Dam in Butte County are part of the State Water Project and an important source of water for Southern California.  The Metropolitan Water District is the largest of the state water contractors and imports about 30% of the Southland's water supplies from Northern California.

Oroville's main spillway suffered severe damage in February 2017 when flood control releases from the lake eroded sections of the concrete channel.  The subsequent use of an emergency spillway created erosion concerns that prompted an evacuation of communities downstream.  Current recovery efforts include work on both the main flood control spillway and the emergency spillway, with the objective to get the main spillway operational by November 1, 2017 to accommodate flows from winter storms.

Work continues on the main and emergency spillways including demolition of the bottom 600 feet of the upper chute of the main spillway.  The final 1,000 feet of main spillway leading to the radial gates will be patched and reinforced, and will remain intact this year.  This 1,000-foot section will be replaced and reconstructed in 2018.  Demolition of the 1,400-foot lower chute of the main spillway is nearly complete, and crews are working on final cleanup of that area.  Preparations are underway to construct the new foundation on the main spillway, which will begin later this summer.

Construction activities can be seen on a live feed from the two cameras at the site.  

DWR is collaborating with regulatory agencies and a Board of Consultants on the Oroville Spillways design and construction project.  Metropolitan has no direct role in the review or implementation of these projects.  However, Metropolitan continues to work with DWR on operational issues and future activities at the Oroville facilities in general.

Click here for latest conditions.  

View a video detailing the events at the Oroville facilities that occurred in early 2017.  


Overview of Oroville Facilities, Regulations and Licensing Process

Recent reports in the media have stated that Metropolitan and other state water contractors objected to improvements to Oroville's emergency spillway during a Federal Ene

rgy Regulatory Commission (FERC) dam relicensing process due to the potential costs. These reports are erroneous. MWD raised no issues regarding the costs of armoring the emergency spillway.

The State Water Contractors, an association of public water agencies including Metropolitan Water District, has prepared a fact sheet on the Oroville facilities that includes a timeline of recent events, how the facilities are regulated, and background on the licensing process and safety issues. 

Click here for General Manager Kightlinger’s February 2017 blog on Oroville.

State Water Contractors fact sheet


No Immediate Impact on Southern California Water Supplies

Water is continuing to be released from Lake Oroville into the river systems that supply the State Water Project.  Wet conditions throughout the state are enabling Metropolitan and other water agencies to meet not just current needs, but to replenish reservoirs and groundwater basins. 

At this time, we do not know whether there will be any long-term impacts to water supplies in the Southland as a result of the damage to the Oroville facilities.  Having more water in storage locally will help us manage those conditions should they occur.


September 11, 2017


July 7, 2017


June 27, 2017


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February 11, 2017


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