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Lake Oroville water release worries

Water from Lake Oroville is used for local agriculture, fish in the Feather River and to keep salt out of the California Delta.

Posted: Jun 17, 2021 5:19 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2021 5:24 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. - Since Lake Oroville is state run, 27 million Californians stretching across the whole state depend on water coming out of the lake.

"We have no water here for us local people and that's not right,” said Mark Vega, who lives in Oroville. “They shouldn't be selling our water to LA or anybody really."

Vega wonders how much time he has to take his jet skis out for a spin before water levels drop too low.

"We count on it every summer, and this is why most of us move to the lake area so we can have fun out here and they are taking it away,” said Vega.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is temporarily lowering how much water it takes from Lake Oroville.

Some people think that it is still too much.

"They use Lake Oroville as the bathtub to keep the Delta salt pushed out and so that they can make more deliveries,” said Bill Connelly, District 1 Supervisor for Butte County. “They do it much more with our lake than other lakes and that's just not right."

Water from Lake Oroville is used for local agriculture, fish in the Feather River and to keep salt out of the California Delta.

Low water levels or not, people tell Action News Now they are still going to make the most of the lake this summer.

"Well if it keeps going, there won't be that much to do anything,” said Jordan Casey, who was visiting the lake with his family from Reno. “For now there is still enough on there."

Even with low water levels, the DWR hopes that people will still take advantage of other recreational activities like walking, jogging or biking across Oroville Dam Crest Road, that is open 24 hours.

"It's this low and it's just the beginning of summer,” said Steven Tippetts, who lives in Oroville. “I don't know what we are going to do for the rest of summer, driving our jet skis on mud."

The current lake level is at 699 feet and the DWR works with the Bureau of Reclamation to decide how much water is released daily.

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