Oroville Dam (Lake Oroville)

Field Descriptions

Dam Name: Oroville
NID ID: CA00035
Longitude: -121.48333
Latitude: 39.53333
Map Section: S.35,T.20N,R.3E,...
County: BUTTE
River: FEATHER RIVER
State: CA
Nearest City: Oroville
Distance: 3.00 miles
Owner Type: Not Listed
Dam Designer: DWR
Private Dam? No
Core: Core (Position)
Earth (Type)
Known (Certainty)
Foundation: RK
Purposes: Flood Control
Year Completed: 1968
Dam Length: 6920 feet
Dam Height: 770 feet
Structural Height: 770 feet
Hydraulic Height: 748 feet
Maximum Discharge: 227000 cu ft/sec
Maximum Storage: 3540000 acre-feet
Normal Storage: 3540000 acre-feet
Surface Area: 15800 acres
Drainage Area: 3611 square miles
Hazard Potential: High
Emergency Action Plan? Yes
Inspection Date: 2012-06-12
Inspection Frequency: 1
State Regulated Dam? Yes
State Regulating Agency: Division of Safety of Dams
Spillway Type: Controlled
Spillway Width: 140 feet
Outlet Gates: T8;
Volume of Dam: 80000000 cubic yards
Federal Regulatory Agency:
Federal Inspection Agency:
Source Agency:

Dam Safety For Boats

A large amount of water can be released from a dam without any warning at any time and by any means. For example, when the demand for electricity is high, the turbines at a dam may be turned on automatically, resulting in a significant increase in the downstream flow of water in only a matter of seconds.

If there's a need to release water through the sluiceways (outlets at the base of the dam), this operation can also create a great swell of discharged water downstream.

During flood operations, any or all spillway gates across the width of a dam can be opened to release upstream flood water that needs to pass to the next downstream reservoir. Upstream or downstream, even the most experienced boater with the strongest motor is no match for this strong flow of water plunging over a spillway of a dam. Even if you're boating far downstream of a spilling dam, recirculating current can pull a powerful boat upstream toward plunging water that could shred any boat.

Some dams equipped with navigation locks create turbulent water as well. When vessels pass through, strong flow is released near the exhaust ports of the wing wall of the lock.

Warning Systems At Dams

To warn reservoir users of potential danger, warning devices are installed at many dams:






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