Lake Oroville water level falling rapidly

Lake Oroville water levels falling rapidly

OROVILLE, Calif. - This summer Lake Oroville is on pace to set a new record for its lowest lake level ever.

Islands are starting to appear, brownouts are being reported, and a launch ramp is in danger of closing.

California Department of Water Resources officials said not enough people are doing their part in saving water in this record breaking drought.

Some parts in Butte County are losing power, and farmers aren't getting enough water for their crops, DWR officials said Tuesday.

"It's really a bummer when you want to come out on the water because we have a beautiful lake here and when it's down like this it's scary," said fisherman Pat Scherrod.

Lake Oroville barely got any precipitation this winter. The last time it rained was on May 20th. The lake's surface sat at 723 feet in elevation on Tuesday; at 41 percent capacity. When the lake is full, the level is at 900 feet.

DWR said explained rising demand from a growing population and not enough people taking part of the voluntary 20 percent cutback issued by Governor Jerry Brown is to blame.

"There's just not enough inflow because we don't have any snow pack right now," said Jana Frazier from DWR. "It's at zero."

The dam at Lake Oroville is not generating enough power; only 510 megawatts. That's down from 820 megawatts. The power shortage is causing rolling brownouts in parts of in eastern Butte County on Kelly Ridge and Forbestown Roads.

"We are dropping a foot a day in a 24 hour period," said Frazier.

The Spillway Launch Ramp is also on the chopping block. Water levels have dropped rapidly; only one boat launch ramp remains open. If it drops another 5 to 10 feet, officials say that ramp will shut down.

"We need to squeeze every drop and right now we are still not doing it and we are not even at the peak of summer time yet," said Frazier.

DWR is asking for people to do their part in saving water by turning off faucets when brushing teeth, shortening shower time and cutting back on water for lawns.

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