On Saturday, March 22, and Sunday, March 23, between 1 and 4 p.m., Chelan County PUD will hold the Rock Island reservoir – located between Rocky Reach and Rock Island Dams – at a stable level to help water users determine if they are able to operate their irrigation systems at lower river levels and/or lower river flow levels than normal for this time of year. The lower reservoir level is the result of the ongoing work being done at Grant County PUD’s Wanapum Dam.
For the next several months, Chelan PUD anticipates the river levels to be lower than normal and is working closely with the Bonneville Power Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation to provide consistent river flows throughout the summer and fall at or above current levels. The PUD also is working with their own engineers to avoid low river levels. There are no guarantees that the PUD will be able to keep river levels at normal levels. There is always the possibility that reservoir drawdowns and lower river flows may occur with the result being the reservoir level will be lower than irrigation intakes.
Based on historical data, there is a low probability that will occur and it is highly likely the PUD would be below this level for no more than six hours on any given day. But, we understand that this could be a problem for irrigators. We are working with our partners upstream and downstream to manage the river level and flow.
Irrigators need to be able to make decisions based on what they observe. That is why Chelan PUD is doing this test. The PUD wants irrigators to be prepared. And the PUD doesn’t want irrigators to have to make more than one adjustment to their equipment this year.
Irrigators are asked to report any observed pumping problems that may be associated with a lower reservoir level. In order to help irrigators determine the river level when they test or observe their equipment, there is real-time Rocky Reach and Rock Island river level data posted on the home page of the Chelan PUD website (www.chelanpud.org).
Please report to the PUD:
• Date, time and location of your test
• Current River Level Above Rock Island from the website at that time
• Current River Level Below Rocky Reach from the website at that time
• Any observed intake problems or issues
Send your information to: Shaun Seaman firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there are any questions or an irrigator is having difficulty with recording this information, contact Shaun at (509) 661-4459.