Pine Flat Dam spillway expected to release water within days

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District
Published June 29, 2023
Pine Flat Dam and Kings River

Pine Flat Dam and the Kings River near Fresno, Calif., June 17, 2013. Owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, Pine Flat Dam reduces flood risk to Fresno County and stores water used for water supply and hydroelectric power.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to use the gated service spillway at Pine Flat Dam within the next seven days as temperatures rise along the Sierra Nevada, increasing snowmelt runoff that flows to the reservoir.

The release is part of normal operations and is implemented when Pine Flat Lake exceeds 85 percent of its authorized capacity, approximately 1 million acre feet of water. 

Based on current conditions and forecasts, USACE does not anticipate that Pine Flat Lake will exceed the authorized capacity.

The Water Control Manual (WCM), which dictates operation of the dam for flood control operations, considers the space available in the reservoir, anticipated downstream water supply and irrigation demands, and forecasted snowmelt inflows. Following the manual in coordination with downstream agencies helps reduce the potential for downstream flooding.

Currently, the dam’s combined flood release and irrigation release is approximately 10,350 cubic feet of water per second through its outlet works. When water begins to flow through the gated spillway, releases through the outlet works will be reduced so that the total combined outflows from Pine Flat Dam does not significantly exceed 10,350 cfs. The gated spillway is expected to release water for the next several months until the reservoir capacity drops below 85 percent of authorized capacity.

USACE continues to coordinate controlled water releases with local and state agencies to manage flood control space in our reservoirs and to help reduce the impacts of potential flooding. Our number one priority continues to be the life, health, and safety of the public.

The Kings River remains closed and there is no timeline for reopening it. Continued strong water flows and hazardous conditions make it unsafe for any recreational use in or around the water.

Our hourly water management release data for Pine Flat Dam can be found at For Fresno County Emergency Alert Registration, please visit

Ken Wright
916-502-2673 (cell)

Release no. 23-025