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Drought

Hydro energy reduced as California reservoirs shrink

 •  by Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
The dam at New Spicer Meadow Reservoir in 2018. The lake should have 160,000 acre feet of water but only has 90,000 acre feet in June 2021 because of drought, which will make power generation difficult. CREDIT: Randy Bowersox, hydroelectric manager for the Northern California Power Agency

California’s reservoirs and rivers are startlingly low, forcing many of the state’s more than 270 hydropower facilities to generate less power.

Lake Oroville, one of the state’s largest reservoirs, made headlines because its water levels have dropped so low the power plant may need to shut down for the first time. While most other hydropower plants aren’t at risk of shutting down, plants that rely on watersheds up and down the state are not able to generate normal amounts of power.

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Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
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