Reservoir Behind Wanapum Dam to Begin Filling

Wanapum Dam Almost Back to Normal

EPHRATA, Wash. (AP) — Enough repairs have been made to the cracked Wanapum Dam to soon allow the reservoir to partially refill.

The Grant County Public Utility District said Tuesday the reservoir could be raised 17 feet above its current level by the end of the year. It was lowered 26 feet after a crack was discovered last February in the spillway.

Spokesman Chuck Allen says the partial refill will allow normal operations of fish ladders and increase electricity generation to as much as 80 percent. Some recreation areas on the reservoir also may reopen to the public.

So far, 13 of 35 cables have been installed to anchor the dam to bedrock. A design error when the Columbia River dam was built in the 1960s resulted in the 65-foot crack in the spillway.