Grant PUD raises water levels behind Wanapum Dam amidst ongoing repairs

Ongoing repairs a the Wanapum Dam in Washington have allowed the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to reopen most of the reservoir’s shoreline to the public earlier this week.

Grant County Public Utilities District discovered a 65-foot-long by 2-inch-wide horizontal crack in Wanapum Dam’s pier monolith No. 4 this past February, prompting the utility, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other upstream dam operators to drop the Columbia River’s levels behind the dam by almost 30 feet in March.

Enough repairs have been completed now, the utility said, to allow the reservoir’s level to be raised 17 feet, with further increases scheduled through this year.

“We anticipate we will be able to resume regular operations of the reservoir by the start of the 2015 recreation season,” Grant PUD said in a statement.

HydroWorld.com reported in November that ongoing repairs to Wanapum and Grant PUD’s upstream 912-MW Priest Rapids hydropower plant have caused a slight rate increase for its customers.

Grant PUD reported in September that the 1,038-MW Wanapum plant was generating only about half its normal output capacity it would under normal river conditions.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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