Water flows over emergency spillway at Oroville Dam for first time in reservoir’s nearly 50-year history.
Water started flowing over an emergency spillway at the nation’s tallest dam, on Lake Oroville, for the first time Saturday after erosion damaged the Northern California dam’s main spillway.
Officials hoped to avoid using Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway, fearing it could cause trees to fall and leave debris cascading into water that rushes through the Feather River, into the Sacramento River and on to the San Francisco Bay. Crews prepared for several days, clearing trees and brush.
Water began running over the emergency spillway around 8 a.m., according to California’s Department of Water Resources. It was the first time the emergency spillway has been used in the reservoir’s nearly 50-year history.