May 1, 2012
Idaho Power Refilling Brownlee Reservoir
BOISE, Idaho – Boaters will have greater access to Brownlee Reservoir in May as the popular reservoir in Hells Canyon begins refilling under direction from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Starting Monday, April 30, Idaho Power began operating the Brownlee Dam hydro facility in response to power demand, with higher flows during the day and reduced flows overnight. The net result will be a gradual increase in Brownlee’s elevation.
Brownlee’s elevation was 2,034 feet on Monday. If operations go as planned, the reservoir will reach approximately 2,045 feet by May 15. This would put the boat ramp at Hewitt Park, on the Oregon side of the reservoir, in the water May 12. The only public ramp currently usable is at Woodhead Park in Idaho.
Idaho Power owns and operates the reservoir, which stores water behind the utility’s largest hydropower facility, Brownlee Dam. But spring flood control operations are governed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps determines how much space must be held in Brownlee to accommodate spring runoff and help reduce the risk of flooding downstream in the Snake and Columbia river systems.
Earlier projections would have required Idaho Power to reduce the water level at Brownlee below 2,014 feet by the end of April, but after carefully considering runoff conditions upstream, the Corps made the decision to deviate from initial flood control plans.
Conditions could require additional changes to the flood control operations. Boaters are encouraged to check updated Brownlee levels and the near-term forecast at www.idahopower.com/ourenvironment.
Completed in 1958, Brownlee Dam has a generation capacity of 728 megawatts. Brownlee Reservoir has a surface area of 15,000 acres and can hold more than 1.4 million acre feet of water when it reaches full pool at 2,077 feet.
About Idaho Power Company:
Idaho Power began operations in 1916. Today, the electric utility employs approximately 2,000 people who serve nearly 500,000 customers throughout a 24,000-square-mile area in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. With 17 low-cost hydroelectric projects as the core of its generation portfolio, Idaho Power’s residential, business and agricultural customers pay among the nation’s lowest rates for electricity. IDACORP, Inc. (NYSE: IDA) is the investor-owned utility’s parent company based in Boise, Idaho. To learn more, visit www.idahopower.com or www.idacorpinc.com.
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