Water & Drought

How the Sacramento Weir works

Sacramento Weir opens for first time in decade

Seven gates on the Sacramento Weir opened Tuesday morning to relieve pressure on levees downstream.
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Seven gates on the Sacramento Weir opened Tuesday morning to relieve pressure on levees downstream.

The Sacramento Weir is the only manually operated weir on the Sacramento River system.

While the system’s five other weirs overflow automatically once the river reaches a certain elevation, the 1,920-foot-long Sacramento Weir consists of 48 gates that must be opened with a long hooked pole. The gates are opened when the river level at the I Street Bridge reaches 29.87 feet. The weir, built in 1916, was last opened in December 2005.

How it works:

graphic of Sacramento weir 

The gates

▪ Each gate consists of 38 hinged wooden planks

▪ 1,500 cubic feet of water per second can move through each gate

Source: California Department of Water Resources

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