Grant PUD Continues to Investigate Wanapum Spillway
Grant County PUD is studying options to repair the 65-foot crack in a spillway pier at the Wanapum Dam.
VANTAGE, WA - Grant County PUD is studying options to repair the 65-foot crack in a spillway pier at the Wanapum Dam. Although the crack last week was downgraded to a "non-failure emergency" and classified as stable, the utility is still trying to figure out what caused the fracture and how to repair it.
Another concern is how to safely pass salmon and steelhead past the dam due to the reservoir drawdown. The migration season begins in April and experts are developing plans to provide upstream passage by modifying the two Wanapum Dam fish ladders. The utility is also looking at plans to transport the adult fish around the reservoir. At the current level, downstream juvenile fish passage will still be able to occur.
10 irrigators with land-use authorizations for surface-water withdrawals from the reservoir may also be impacted. The utility is working to inform them of any potential problems and helping to determine their best course of action.
The Wanapum reservoir shoreline and boat launches remain closed to the public. Sections of the shoreline, including mud flats and the riverbank, are extremely unstable and are a serious safety hazard. The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, Wanapum Heritage Center, and day-use park also remain closed. State and local law enforcement agencies will be notified whenever anyone is observed trespassing in areas closed to the public.
The utility has reopened public-access sites on the Priest Rapids reservoir, including the Priest Rapids Recreation Area at Desert Aire and the Buckshot Recreation and Wildlife Area. The Wanapum Dam Overlook is also open.
Grant PUD continues to meet customer electricity needs with its current power-supply portfolio. Wanapum Dam is generating about half of the electricity it would produce under normal river conditions.