Department of Ecology News Release - March 17, 2015

Raising the water level in Lake Osoyoos for spring

OROVILLE – Dam operators are raising the water level in Lake Osoyoos as spring weather advances in Washington state and the greater Okanagan Valley in Canada. Local residents should be aware that sudden rises from early snow melt can cause temporary flooding along shoreline properties.

The lake level is managed by the Washington Department of Ecology at Zosel Dam in Oroville to support irrigation and summer recreation in both the United States and Canada. The level of the lake is raised slowly from the winter operating level to the summer level until about June 1.

“Our challenge is to keep lake levels from rising too quickly during this period,” said Al Josephy, with Ecology’s Office of Columbia River. “This time of year we must coordinate lake levels with other lake management operations in Canada as well as respond to snow melt and rain or snow events.”

Ecology’s target is to maintain a level between 911.5 and 912 feet from May 1 to Sept. 15. 

Lake levels are mandated by the International Joint Commission, a board made up of representatives from the United States and Canada. For more information on the operation of Zosel Dam or Lake Osoyoos, contact Al Josephy at 360-407-6456.

To track lake levels in “real time,” as well as find additional information, go to the U.S. Geological Survey web page for Osoyoos Lake.

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Contact:

Joye Redfield-Wilder, communications, 509-575-2610; @ecyCentral