California stops the large hydroelectric plant in the midst of a severe drought

In this aerial photo, the houseboats land in shallow water on Lake Oroville when the drought emergency in California worsens, on July 25, 2021 in Oroville, California.

Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – California has shut down a large hydroelectric plant on Lake Oroville whose water levels in the reservoir have fallen close to the minimum needed to generate energy, state water officials announced Thursday.

It is the first time the state has shut down the Hyatt Power Plant because of the decreased water level since the plant came into operation in 1967.

The loss of power could fuel even more darkness this summer as the State struggles with a historic drought and record heat waves.

Officials said the record low water level in Lake Oroville, an artificial water reserve in northern California, is the result of the drought exacerbated by climate change.

Although California is constantly dry, climate change has fueled high temperatures and dry land that has significantly reduced water runoff into reservoirs this spring, resulting in the lowest levels ever recorded in Lake Oroville, say the officials.

“This is just one of the many unprecedented impacts we are experiencing in California because of our climate-induced drought,” said Karla Nemeth, director of the state’s water resources department in a statement.

Nemeth said the department has anticipated the shutdown and anticipated a loss of water and network management. Officials have warned that the plant will no longer be able to generate energy if the water level falls below 640 meters above sea level.

The dry territory is visible, in a section that is normally under water, on the shores of Lake Oroville, which is the second largest reservoir in California and according to the Daily Reports of the Department of Aquatic Resources. the state is close to 35% of capacity near Oroville, California, on June 16, 2021.

Aude Guerrucci | Reuters

The water elevations in Lake Oroville are forecast to reach up to 620 feet above sea level in late October. Nemeth said the state water agency is working to “preserve as much water as possible in storage.”

Although the plant does not generate more energy, officials said they will release some water from the dam into the Feather River to maintain the river’s temperature requirements.

Lawyer Gavin Newsom asked California residents in July to curb household water consumption by 15% to preserve water supply. Network operators in the state have also ordered residents to limit the use of electricity to prevent blackouts while fires burn the state, including the Dixie Fire, which has been burning for more than 3 weeks.

“The level of the cascading reservoir is another example of why it’s so critical that all Californians conserve water,” Nemeth said.

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