Lake Oroville rises nearly 20 feet in 10 days


OROVILLE, Calif. - The showers are showing and lake levels across the Northstate are rising.

Lake Oroville has been the poster child for the drought, exhibiting low water levels, dry banks and closed boat launches.

But hourly mapping by the Department of Water Resources shows that in the past 10 days, water levels have come up 17 feet.

"This is excellent," Kevin Wright with the Department of Water Resources said. "This is what we need."

The consistent rains are bringing relief to the reservoir. Wright said that since last year's low on December 9th, 264,000 acre-feet of water has been added to the lake.

If water levels had stayed low, it could have meant lack of water for local irrigation, wildlife and even recreation. Wright said fortunately that didn't happen.

The water level rise is significant, but visually, the lake still looks low. Wright said there is a long way to go.

"We are not out of the drought," Wright explained. "We're just...we're not. The lake has a long ways to go before it's full. So, we still need to conserve water."

Lake Oroville's highest capacity is 900 feet and at last check, it was around 690 feet, which leaves more than 200 feet still left to fill.

But showers in the coming few weeks are expected to bring another 25 to 30 feet and Wright said that is a good start.

"The storm we just had...we need several of those over the next few months," Wright observed. "Let's say between now and the end of March, end of April, we need to see those at least every other week."

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