After years of drought, the west coast has been deluged with rain this winter, which while it has been a blessing, also brings forth new problems and hazards for the area. One such situation has developed with the Oroville Dam in northern California where a gaping hole in the emergency spillway threatens the integrity of the dam and could cause disastrous flooding if not imminently repaired.

Oroville, California is located approximately one hour north of the Sacramento area. Approximately 30 Greek Orthodox families from the parishes of Saint Anna in Roseville and Annunciation in Sacramento are affected by this evacuation and the local communities are providing support as needed through their respective clergy.

“We ask for the entire Metropolis to offer fervent prayers to the Lord for the safekeeping of the residents of this area who have fled their homes and livelihoods,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. “We also call to mind those who are working to make these repairs to the Oroville Dam, that God will guide them in these important efforts to preserve and protect the people in this region and this vital water supply.” 

The Oroville Dam is the second largest reservoir in the state of California, and one of the 20 largest dams in the United States, standing at 770 feet tall and nearly 7,000 feet long, with a capacity of 3.5 million acre feet of water. In an abundance of caution, over 150,000 people have been evacuated from this region until this situation has been stabilized. While the weather these next few days is expected to be sunny and clear, a new storm will return to the area by the end of the week, making the timing of this repair critical.

Lake Oroville was created by Oroville Dam in 1967. It conserves water for distribution by the State Water Project to homes, farms, and industries in the San Francisco Bay area, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The facilities in Oroville also provide flood control and smog free generation of electric power in addition to recreation.