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Watching a reservoir go empty in the drought

Issue Date: October 13, 2021

Lake Oroville in Butte County has the tallest dam in the U.S. and the second-largest capacity of any California reservoir. Now it stands as a reminder of California's multi-year drought and extreme water shortages. The photos on the left, shot in 2019, show the reservoir at its Enterprise Bridge and Bidwell Bar Bridge crossings. Those on the right show the same locations—as seen from the lake basin in 2021. As of Oct. 1, the lake was at 22% water capacity and more than 270 feet below its full pool depth.

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