Lake Berryessa was formed when the Bureau of Reclamation built Monticello Dam on Putah Creek in 1957.
Project purposes included flood control, municipal and industrial water supply, and irrigation water supply.
The Lake Berryessa Recreation area is Federally-owned, public land administered by Reclamation.
The origin of the name Berryessa is from two brothers with the last name of Berryessa. The brothers, Jose Jesus and Sisto Berryessa, owned a significant portion of the land in and around the the town of Monticello, now covered by the waters of Lake Berryessa.
The Monticello Hydroelectric Power Plant is owned and operated by the Solano Irrigation District. Electrical energy is generated by three hydroelectric units utilizing water releases to Putah Creek from Lake Berryessa through the existing northern penstock of Monticello Dam.
Electricity is transmitted to Pacific Gas and Electric Company's power grid. The installed capacity is 11.5 megawatts. Construction of the Monticello Power Plant began in September 1981 and the first electrical energy was generated on March 9, 1983. A $17 million revenue bond issue financed the project. No Federal, State, or local tax monies were used in construction.
The Morning Glory Spillway (Glory Hole) is the funnel-shaped outlet that allows water to bypass the dam when it reaches capacity (1,602,000 acre-feet).
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