Wanapum Dam structural damage could affect water supply

Ecology photo of Wanapum Dam

Wanapum Dam, Ecology photo

Water Right and Well Information

Drawdown of Columbia River at Wanapum Dam

In the News

 

Ecology is working closely with Grant County and Chelan County public utility districts monitoring temporary water levels in the Wanapum and Rock Island pools and evaluating how water users may be affected by the lowering of both pools due to structural concerns at the Wanapum Dam.  The drawdown of the reservoirs are expected to extend into late fall.

For accurate and current information on repairs, fish passage, and recreation visit Grant PUD’s Wanapum Dam Spillway Response webpage.

We are continuing to take inventory of both surface and groundwater users that could possibly be influenced along 58 river miles from the Wanapum Dam up to Rocky Reach.

If you aren’t already working with someone, please contact us. We are committed to ensuring homes, farms, and communities have access to water.

Water users can call or email Ecology’s water resources customer service representatives if they anticipate a problem with their surface water intake or groundwater wells.  This will help narrow the inventory of potential problems as Ecology explores approaches to remedy water supply limitations.

Customer service phone lines:

Grant County

Anita Waterman

Department of Ecology - WR-ERO
Phone: 509 329-3541
E-mail: anita.waterman@ecy.wa.gov
 
  Chelan, Douglas and Kittitas Counties

Department of Ecology - WR-CRO

Phone: 509 575-2597 Monday-Thursday
Phone: 509-575-2490 Friday (Reception)

Frequently Asked Questions

How many surface water irrigators are possibly affected?
Currently there are about 150 diversions identified in Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Kittitas counties.  The ability of some irrigators using these diversions to pump water from the Columbia River may be affected.  The majority of these users receive their water supply from the Rock Island pool.  Irrigators are being asked to notify Ecology of any problems they may have reaching their water supply.

How many water users have contacted Ecology for technical assistance in securing water supply?

Approximately 30 water users contacted Ecology to report potential problems with water supplies.  Of those that contacted us, 16 irrigation projects were identified as needing permits and technical assistance.  Permits for each of those projects have been approved allowing farmers and orchardists to get to work securing water.

What about impacts to nearby well users?
It’s true, some wells nearby may draw on water connected to river levels.  It is unknown if there will be a problem with well users, but Ecology is taking an inventory so the agency can respond quickly as needs arise.  If you anticipate or experience a problem with your well please contact us.

How long will the water levels be lowered at these pools?
River operations are being carefully managed up and down the river as Grant County PUD responds to addressing structural damage at the Wanapum Dam.  Water users are encouraged to keep tabs on the utility's communications and operations.  More information is available online:

What do I need to do to ensure I have the water I need?

Ecology staff will help you to assess your situation and work with each water user to make sure that the solution for accessing your water right is covered by necessary approvals to get the work done. Depending on each individual situation we need to ensure that appropriate requirements for safety, in-water work, fish screening, cultural resources, and legal water use are met. We will be as flexible as we can within our legal authority and make the process as smooth as possible.

Actions that irrigators can take that may not require any permits from Ecology include:

What is Ecology doing with the information about water supply problems that are being reported?

We are working closely with state and local partners to gather accurate information about those affected by the pool drawdowns.  After information is collected we are working with local Washington Conservation Commission staff to organize site visits, when appropriate, to complete a checklist and permit application for associated work.