CHICO, Calif. December 16, 2016 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is cautioning recreationalists near rivers and streams to be aware of higher flows brought on by recent rains and spilling reservoirs.

Most PG&E’s reservoirs haven’t spilled this early in the wet season in years because of ongoing drought conditions, so recreationalists may be caught off guard by the higher water flows downstream.

Four of PG&E’s six reservoirs along the Pit River are overflowing or expected to be soon, as are four of the six reservoirs along the North Fork Feather River.

Reservoirs spilling or about to spill include the Pit 4, Pit 5, Pit 6 and Pit 7 along the Pit River in Shasta County, and Belden, Rock Creek, Cresta and Poe reservoirs on the North Fork Feather River in Plumas and Butte counties. Mountain Meadows Reservoir in Lassen County and the Grizzly Forebay in Plumas County are also spilling.

It’s not unusual for PG&E ‘s reservoirs to spill during the wettest parts of normal winters, because they tend to have less storage and are located at much higher elevations than state and federal multi-year water storage reservoirs like Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville. PG&E’s reservoirs are designed to capture rain and snowmelt runoff in winter, spring and early summer to generate clean, renewable hydroelectric power.

Water Safety Tips

  • Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
  • Cold water entering the ear canal can cause vertigo and disorientation. This may confuse swimmers, causing them to venture deeper into the water.
  • Recreating in PG&E canals and flumes is strictly prohibited. Stay out of canals and flumes, which are very dangerous due to slippery sides and fast moving water.