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Hydropower Levels Under Careful Watch as Drought Ravages the West

August 9, 2021

Intensifying drought conditions in California and historically low water levels at the Oroville Dam on Aug. 5 forced the state’s Department of Water Resources (CDWR) to shut down the 644-MW Edward Hyatt Power Plant—the fourth-largest energy producer of all California’s hydroelectric facilities.

While the current drought is affecting 95% of the West, it is bearing down severely in California and in the Colorado River Basin. Multiple reservoirs monitored by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) are “substantially” affected. The federal agency reported on Aug. 8 that at least six of its 44 major reclamation reservoirs—including Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon Dam—have now fallen to their lowest storage values in the last 30 years.

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