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Unrelenting Drought Forces Major California Hydroelectric Power Plant To Go Offline

A warning had previously been issued by authorities that the power plant could be forced to shut down if the reservoir fell below roughly 630 to 640 feet above mean sea level.

Unrelenting Drought Forces Major California Hydroelectric Power Plant To Go Offline
Lake Oroville in better times jmoor17/iStock

The Hyatt Powerplant at Lake Oroville, a major California hydroelectric power plant, has been shut down due to low water levels for the first time since it opened in 1967. The news comes after the region has been experiencing unrelenting droughts — an issue that has been calling for innovative solutions to counteract its negative effects. 

"DWR State Water Project operations managers have taken the Hyatt Powerplant at Lake Oroville offline due to falling lake levels. This is the first time Hyatt Powerplant has gone offline as a result of low lake levels," said California Department of Water Resources officials in a statement

"This is just one of many unprecedented impacts we are experiencing in California as a result of our climate-induced drought. California and much of the western part of the United States are experiencing the impacts of accelerated climate change including record-low reservoir levels due to dramatically reduced runoff this spring."

Water levels too low

According to CNN, the Hyatt Powerplant is responsible for powering up to 800,000 homes when operating at full capacity. A warning had previously been issued by authorities that the hydropower plant could be forced to shut down if the reservoir fell below roughly 630 to 640 feet (192 to 195 meters) above mean sea level.

As of Thursday, the lake reached a low of 641 feet (195.37 meters). This is a level that is lower than at any point since the reservoir was first filled in 1967, including a dry period in the 1970s as well as the severe California drought of the mid-2010s.

"Falling reservoir levels are another example of why it is so critical that all Californians conserve water. We are calling on everyone to take action now to reduce water use by 15 percent, to preserve as much water supply in storage as possible should we experience another dry year. We are all in this together," added the California Department of Water Resources.

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