Impacted by low rainfall and historic heat in the northwest U.S. this summer, Avista Utilities expects the discharge at its Post Falls Hydroelectric plant to drop to the minimum of 500 cubic feet per second.
The reduction is the least amount allowed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license issued in 2009. The FERC license takes into account both Coeur d’Alene Lake’s water levels and the Spokane River flows downstream of the Post Falls Dam.
This will help maintain Coeur d’Alene Lake levels as well as keep water in the Spokane River throughout the rest of the summer.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the Washington Department of Ecology, and Avista would like to advise our continued hot, dry weather has reduced water levels in Coeur d’Alene Lake, as well as flows in the Spokane River.
“In dry years like this, the connection between the aquifer and the river becomes quite clear,” said Patrick Cabbage, Senior Hydrogeologist for the Department of Ecology’s Eastern Region Water Resources Program. “Water use by people directly affects river flows. That’s why we hope people will use water wisely and efficiently. Fix a leak, don’t water the sidewalk and pay attention to how much you irrigate. It matters.”
The six units at the Post Falls Hydroelectric Development generate about 15 MW. Five of the north Idaho plant’s units became operational in the early part of the 20th century.