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PG&E: Whitewater flows for the Pit River

09/04/16 -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will again provide high whitewater flows on the Pit 5 Reach of the Pit River in eastern Shasta County, the company announced.

The higher flows will occur on September 10-11. Those recreating in or near this portion of the river are encouraged to use extra caution during the increased flows. This portion of the river contains Class III, IV and V rapids, which are appropriate only for skilled paddlers. The reach is not appropriate for tubing.

The Pit 5 Reach is the 9.3-mile portion of the Pit River that extends from PG&E’s Pit 5 Dam and the J.B. Black Powerhouse near Big Bend.

Prior to the increase for September 10-11, flows in the Pit 5 Reach will be about 450 cubic feet per second (cfs). On earlySaturday morning PG&E will gradually increase water flows until it reaches 1,200 cfs, before 10 a.m. The flows will be held at this level until about 4 p.m. that day when flows will gradually be reduced to 600 cfs.

The higher flows will be repeated the next day at the same times, then, after 4 pm, gradually decreased to the normal flow of about 450 cfs.

PG&E previously conducted higher flows on the Pit 5 Reach on August 13 and 14.

The whitewater flows are a requirement of PG&E’s license conditions for the Pit 3, 4, and 5 Hydroelectric Project.

Despite the drought, water flows in the Pit River watershed are near normal as the Pit River is largely fed by springs that steadily release water from large volcanic aquifers, even in dry years.

Due to the high fire danger this year, the higher flow dates are subject to change. PG&E recommends verifying the dates via the PG&E recreation website.

PG&E offers the following water safety tips:

  • Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
  • Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water’s surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced paddlers are recommended.
  • Recreating in PG&E canals and flumes is strictly prohibited. Stay out of canals and flumes, which are very dangerous due to slippery sides and fast moving water.

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