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Plan underway to raise Folsom Dam to store more water in the lake

Plan underway to raise Folsom Dam
Plan underway to raise Folsom Dam 02:02

FOLSOM — Big crowds were out at Folsom Lake on Memorial Day, and with a record-breaking snowpack, the lake is now nearly full. But there's also a large amount of water being released downstream

There's now a plan underway to store more water in the lake, and that involves raising Folsom Dam.

It was a Memorial Day sight not seen in years. Folsom Lake is currently at 116% of its historical average.

"Look at it. This is what we wanted," one lake visitor said. "It's what we've been waiting for in Sacramento."

Lake levels are so high, water is being released from five of the main spillway gates at the top of the dam.

Boaters and swimmers are loving having a full lake as we enter the summer season, but after years of drought and water restrictions, some people are sad to see so much water being released.

"We're just flushing all this water down the river, so it'd be nice if we could store it when we have an abundant year like this," another lake visitor said.

Now, efforts are underway to help store more of this water during wet years. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to raise Folsom Dam by three and a half feet. The plan also requires raising eight earthen dikes that surround the lake's perimeter.

Work has already been completed on one of the dikes, and this year, construction is beginning along the western shoreline.

The project's primary goal is to increase the Sacramento region's flood protection, but it will also allow Folsom Lake to store an extra 42,000 acre-feet of water.

"I think that's fantastic," a third lake visitor said. "I don't think California has really added a lot of water storage and our population continues to grow."

The Folsom Dam project will cost nearly $500 million and work is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2027. 

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