OROVILLE (CBS13) – Due to falling levels in Lake Oroville, one of California’s largest reservoirs, a hydroelectric power plant that can serve up to 800,000 homes has been taken offline as extreme drought conditions continue affect the state.
This is the first time that the power plant has been shut down due to a drought. Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), made the announcement Thursday in a statement, which read in part:
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“DWR anticipated this moment and the State anticipated its loss in the management of water and the network. We have communicated regularly with the California Independent Service Operator (CAISO) and the California Energy Commission regarding the status of Hyatt Powerplant and action has been taken in anticipation of the loss of power generation. “
Water from Lake Oroville is pumped from underground facilities to generate electricity, which can power up to 800,000 homes when operating at full capacity. The Hyatt Power Station is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectric power in the state.
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“DWR will continue to focus on reservoir operations and water storage management at Lake Oroville in order to conserve as much stored water as possible. DWR will use the river valve outlet system to release water from the base of the Oroville Dam to maintain river temperature requirements and outflows to the Feather River, ”said Nemeth.
State officials and experts predicted all summer that the plant would be decommissioned by August. California has already experienced extremely dry conditions and strong heat waves several times this year, straining the state’s electricity grid in the midst of another brutal fire season.
“Falling reservoir levels are another example of why it’s so essential that all Californians conserve water. We call on everyone to take action now to reduce water use by 15%, so as to preserve the storage water supply as much as possible if we were to experience another dry year. We’re all in the same boat, ”Nemeth said.
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The DWR also said it provides 5% of the requested water supplies to the state water project contractors to provide water for agricultural and urban purposes. Storage at the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County is used to meet these deliveries. The DWR said these deliveries are expected to have little impact on the amount of water released or stored at Lake Oroville.