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Neighbors react to the possibility of water being released from Oroville spillway

Neighbors in the area of the Oroville Dam Spillway spoke to Action News Now about the possibility of water being released from the spillway in April.

Posted: Mar 27, 2019 4:50 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. - Neighbors in the area of the Oroville Dam Spillway spoke to Action News Now about the possibility of water being released from the spillway in April.

Some neighbors expressed concerns with the spillway while others remained hopeful. 

The maximum capacity of the Oroville Reservoir is 900 feet. The current water level is at 845 feet and the projected elevation due to expected storms is 850 feet by April 5. So, the Department of Water Resources is preparing and closely monitoring those levels to potentially use the main spillway.

A concerned neighbor, Wayne Smith, watched the spillway overflow back in 2017 from the window of his home. Smith said his biggest concern is what he thinks is keeping the community in the dark.

"I'm hoping they're telling us what they really did and what they're really doing," he said. "And I know there's been concern about them blasting here on the face of the dam and I think that's just for looks and for smoothing everything out, but you hope they know what they're doing." 

Earlier this month, the department said they're confident in the new structure. It's thicker, has more concrete and was built to handle flows as needed to manage lake levels and provide flood protection.

The department plans to notify the public before utilizing the spillway. Erin Mellon, with the department's public affairs department, said they should have a better idea of where things will land at the end of the week.

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