Shasta Dam Makes History as Water Flows From Top Gates for First Time in 20 Years

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While California’s other major dam has been the focus on national attention, the Shasta Dam was making history itself this week.

Shasta Dam is shown in a file photo from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Shasta Dam is shown in a file photo from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

For the first time in almost two decades, water was released Wednesday from the top most gates of the dam impounding Lake Shasta, California’s largest reservoir, marking another milestone in what is shaping up to be the state’s wettest year on record.

The release lasted only 15 minutes and was only a test to confirm that the gates were functioning properly in case they need to be used at a later time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The gates operated as expected, the bureau’s spokesman Louis Moore said.

With the reservoir at 135 percent of its historical average for this time of year and nearly 93 percent of its capacity, dam engineers were releasing billions of gallons of water to make room for incoming flows from the surrounding foothills and Sierra Nevada, according to the bureau.

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