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IPFS News Link • California

The decimation of Lake Oroville:


Houseboats have been forced to crowd together on the trickle of water that remains in Lake Oroville after the California droughts reduced the reservoir's water levels to an 'historic low' of 24 percent capacity.

The water level in the vital California reservoir is now at its lowest since September 1977, with locals saying they have never seen it so empty and officials warning of a detrimental impact on the local environment.

In a storage yard near the lake, dozens of other boats have been stacked on wood by their owners in order to prevent their homes being marooned in the lake.

Lake Oroville, found Butte County in northern California some 60 miles north of Sacramento, has been the site of a number of environmental disasters in recent years. 

In 2017, hundreds and thousands of lives were threatened when huge floods damaged the Oroville dam. The area was also left charred by the Camp Fire of 2018, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California's history.

Now, changing weather conditions have offered a contrast from the floods of 2017, with hot temperatures and low rainfall leaving miles of dusty, cracked and dried up shorelines exposed to the sun. 

'Every year, there seems to be a disaster and issues,' California State Parks Public Safety Chief Aaron Wright told KCRA, a Sacramento NBC-affiliate news station.

Wright also responded to help the area through the Camp Fire which killed 85 people, burned 153,336 acres and proved to be the costliest environmental disaster in the world in 2018 in terms of insured losses.

'It's just sad, it's hard for the communities,' Wright said. 'The park visitors keep getting impacted.' 

Normally, the landscape around the lake would be bustling with vacationers -  families, fishermen and water sports enthusiasts. But now, just a few dozen houseboats remain on the lake, drifting on the ever-shrinking water surface.