Lake Levels

Homeowners

There is no pick-up of debris from the Lake Tapps Reservoir. That is a homeowner responsibility.

Residents can, however, bring all woody debris to North Tapps Park for disposal. If you bring it by boat, please leave it on the shoreline next to the boat ramp. If you bring it by truck, please dump the debris in the trailer parking lot. Thank you for your cooperation.

Click here to view more current updates on Lake Tapps fill activities.

Lake Tapps is now open.

*This is 30% below the all-time lows.

Recreational Lake Levels

NOTICE: Cascade continues to fill Lake Tapps with water stored behind Mud Mountain Dam by the Corps during its recent construction project. The reservoir is currently at 50 percent of recreational levels and is being filled at the rate of about one foot per day. This will continue throughout next week. As the lake fills the same amount of water flowing in raises the lake slightly less for each foot gained due to the lake shape and areas to be filled. The lake remains closed, but that is being assessed daily.

February 10, 2016

2016 Reservoir Fill Update

Cascade began its spring 2016 Lake Tapps Reservoir fill Feb. 10, 2015. Cascade halted the release of water from the Reservoir through the powerhouse, and any rain runoff will slowly raise Reservoir levels for the remainder of February.

Barring any adverse weather conditions or other unforeseen issues, Cascade will begin diverting water from the White River into the Lake Tapps Reservoir around March 1.

"Given where we are currently, it will not take much to get to Full Pool," according to Chuck Clarke, Cascade Water Alliance CEO.

The Reservoir is currently at elevation 539.37 feet. It is anticipated that the minimum recreational level – 541.5 feet – will be reached by early to mid-March.

It is anticipated that the normal operating 2016 summer lake level – approximately 542.5 feet – will be achieved before April 1.

Based on Cascade's modeling, with maximum possible diversion starting March 1, 541.5 feet is reached between March 5 and 12 (depending on available White River flow), with 542.5 feet reached between March 7 and 15.

Even if maximum possible diversions are not achieved, lower diversions still fill the Reservoir quickly, as in the examples shown below:

Average Diversion Date Reservoir Reaches
541.5 Feet 542.5 Feet
100 cfs April 4 April 20
250 cfs March 13 March 19
500 cfs March 7 March 10

As it has every year since 2010, Cascade will raise the Reservoir to the level of approximately 543 feet for a short time to remind homeowners of the level to which Cascade can raise the Reservoir under operating agreements.

As a reminder, prior to beginning any repair or construction activity below elevation 545 feet, homeowners must have all the necessary permits and a license from Cascade.

In 2009, the Lake Tapps Community Council and Cascade Water Alliance established long term agreements ensuring consistent, seasonal lake levels every year. This announcement is being made in accordance with these agreements.

For the latest in lake level information and for the agreements regarding lake levels please visit www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_recreational_lake_levels.php

For more information on Lake Tapps / Cascade agreements visit www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_agreements.php

July 13, 2015

Cascade has taken every possible drop of water since it completed its system improvements this spring to help refill Lake Tapps Reservoir – 15 billion gallons. It must, by state law, retain a certain level of water in the river for instream flows for fish, and has taken every available bit of water above that. There may be one additional project in which Cascade and the Corps can hold water back and release into the reservoir when complete, but the amount of water that might go into the reservoir is uncertain. Unless there is additional rain, or sufficiently hot weather to create any additional runoff from the glaciers or high level elevation snow, this is probably the level the lake will remain until fall rains. The drought has produced record shortfalls below historic stream flow level lows. There is simply no more water to put into the reservoir at this time.

June 10, 2015

Cascade Begins Lake Tapps Fill from Stored Water

Lake Tapps WA - Cascade Water Alliance today announced that water stored behind Mud Mountain Dam during Phase 1 of the barrier structure apron repair project is being released and fill of the Lake Tapps reservoir has resumed.

The Corps and Cascade are collaborating on the project to repair the apron of the Barrier Structure to protect fish, as required by the National Marine Fisheries Service biological opinion.

To ensure worker safety in the river, instream flows were brought down to 350 cubic feet per second (cfs) since June 1. All water in excess of that was stored behind the dam. The dam is solely authorized for flood control, but the Corps can use the dam to store water during construction projects to protect workers in the river.

"About four billion gallons has been captured and stored behind Mud Mountain in this unprecedented cooperative effort,” said Chuck Clarke, Cascade CEO. "The Corps is scheduling water release in a way that allows us to take advantage of this project and store and capture excess water we would not have been able to use otherwise while also protecting instream flows. We also want to thank the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and state and federal fishing agencies for their cooperation in a strategy that both protects instream flows and allows us to resume filling the reservoir.

"In addition, the State Department of Ecology, after meeting with Sen. Pam Roach and Lake Tapps community leaders Leon Stucki, Ralph Mason, Jan Shabro and Don Fisher, authorized Cascade to increase diversions into Lake Tapps above the maximum limit set in the water rights. Homeowners, who have been anxious about refill, should see water coming into Lake Tapps at a rate of about one half a foot to a foot per day for about a week.”

A second phase of this project will last about one week and begin June 19. The Corps will again store water and the river will again be down to flows of 350 cfs for worker safety. Water stored will again be released for diversion to the reservoir the last week in June and first week in July following completion of this second phase.

June 5, 2015

Since November 2014, when Cascade Water Alliance drew down the Lake Tapps Reservoir, the lake bed has been closed for public safety. This has included public boat launches and parks as well. The lake remains closed at this time.

Pierce County Parks, Bonney Lake, East Pierce Fire and Rescue, the Pierce County Sherriff’s Office and Cascade are working together to best assess when it will become safe to open the lake for public use.

At present, the US Army Corps of Engineers is holding water above Mud Mountain Dam. Water stored will, upon completion of the work, be released into the river. Because it is expected to be in excess of the minimum instream flow requirements, Cascade is planning on capturing this water and using it to add water to the reservoir the week of June 8.

Projections are that this could raise the lake considerably by the middle of June. All entities are working together to assess how much water will be in the lake at the end of this effort, and making decisions based on public safety as to whether the lake will be opened for use.

May 29, 2015

Cascade is working very hard to refill Lake Tapps as quickly as possible. In light of this, we wanted to make sure the community is aware of an important activity beginning the first week of June.

You may have noticed levels in the White River have been dropping over the last couple of days, and the reservoir level rising more slowly. Since Tuesday, the Corps has been storing water behind Mud Mountain Dam to prepare for a barrier structure repair project to protect endangered fish.

This means more water will be coming into the lake later!

While the Corps operates the dam solely for flood control, it must hold water for a project like this to ensure the safety of crews working in the river. During the project, the Corps will be storing all the water above 350 cfs. Cascade does not have the authority to store water nor to change instream flows.

When the Corps begins releasing this stored water, Cascade will be able to put significantly more water into the reservoir than we could have relying solely on normal river flows. Stored water will be released in mid-June and again in late June, resulting in significantly more water being diverted to the lake than would not have been possible without this project. We expect to put from half a foot to one foot of water per day into the lake until all the water is released.

We will share details with the community as the project progresses. Please also remember that the lake remains closed for public safety reasons, and Cascade is assessing the situation daily.

For more details, please visit: Corps Word Means Cascade Can Put More Water Into Lake Tapps

May 5, 2015

An Open Letter to the Lake Tapps Community

For the first time since 2007, when Puget Sound Energy still operated Lake Tapps, the reservoir will most likely not be filled to recreational levels by Memorial Day. As the owner and operator of the reservoir since 2009, we value our relationship with the community and we take our agreements with you seriously. However, this is an extraordinary year, and we appreciate your patience.

Cascade purchased the century-old 12-mile long White River /Lake Tapps Reservoir project that takes water from the White River, brings it into the reservoir, and back out to the White River. Many parts were failing. The following facts provide you with an update about the system, its fixes and its future.

FACT: For the next 30 to 40 years, Cascade will be operating this system to provide recreational reservoir levels solely for your benefit while meeting regulatory and operational requirements.

FACT: The system included a failing timber flume and headgates. The facilities that release water from the lake needed to be assessed and repaired. A dike required a seismic retrofit. The Washington State Dam Safety Office requires that Cascade be able to take a certain flow rate from the reservoir and we could not assure that we could do that to protect homeowners in case of earthquake or emergencies.

FACT: If Cascade had not planned for and undertaken these projects, and if the headgates or timber flume had failed, Cascade would not have been able to divert water into the reservoir for a minimum of 18 months, resulting in the likely loss of two complete recreational seasons.

FACT: The design, planning and bidding for the 16 project $15 million upgrade began in December 2013 and was successfully completed March 16, 2015 ensuring long-term viability of the reservoir.

FACT: There has been historically low precipitation, which is required to fill the reservoir. The situation is so severe that the Governor has declared a drought emergency in many areas of the state, including east Pierce County.

FACT: Since April 1, the available flows in the White River have dropped far below even the lowest historically recorded levels. Average historic flows have been above 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) above Mud Mountain Dam. This year the White River flows are at about 700-750 cfs, the lowest flows in 22 years of record keeping.

FACT: Cascade is legally permitted to only take water from the White River, the source of Lake Tapps, when flows exceed the minimum flow required in Cascade’s state issued water rights. This year’s historic low flows limit the amount Cascade can divert into the reservoir. Our new flume can take up to 150% of what is allowed. At present, there is no excess water to divert.

FACT: Projections that the reservoir would be filled by Memorial Day were based on assumptions of less than average flow conditions, but nowhere near the extreme conditions now being experienced. In a normal year, the reservoir would have been filled by May 1.

FACT: We have our crews available 24 hours a day to divert as much available water into the reservoir as fast as possible. A typical day includes four to six diversion adjustments, many taking place between 9 pm and 4 am. Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating.

FACT: Such potential occurrences were even considered and included in the Cascade’s 2009 agreement with the Lake Tapps Community, which states "... operational variances may be required due to forecasts or available precipitation, under the terms and conditions of the Water Rights."

FACT: Cascade is in constant discussions with regulatory and other partners to determine if there is any other option available for filling the lake. This includes working to restock the lake with fish once the reservoir is full. The drought has affected everyone.

FACT: Cascade will continue working hard, and do everything we can to refill Lake Tapps.

We value the friendships and relationships we have built with the Lake Tapps community over the years and ask for your continued patience and support.

March 24, 2015

Refill Web Update

Cascade Water Alliance began refilling the Lake Tapps Reservoir system in mid-March. The speed of the refill is dependent on the available flows in the river. The target for reaching recreational lake (reservoir) levels remains Memorial Day weekend. In case of emergency, call 911.

Fun Refill Facts

Lake Tapps is currently being filled at a rate of approximately 235 cfs which equals 152 million gallons per day. This daily water volume is equal to: 60% more water than is used indoors by every home and apartment in King County.

  • Enough to fill 230 Olympic size swimming pools every day
  • Enough to fill 7 Crude oil supertankers every day
  • Enough to supply 2,000 average homes for a year, including law watering
  • Enough to fill Safeco Field to the roof once every 4 days
  • Enough to wash every car registered in Washington 1.7 times every day
  • Enough to fill a 1 inch garden hose stretching around the earth 28 times
  • Enough to line 1 gallon jugs from Seattle to New York City 6 times

Another interesting fact, the total capacity of Lake Tapps is 21.6 billion gallons at elevation 543.0'.


December 18, 2014

Lake Tapps Improvement Projects Progressing

Cascade Water Alliance announces that its major rehabilitation activities along the entire White River Lake Tapps project to update, improve, and enhance the system are underway and ahead of schedule.

This summer, Cascade began an overhaul of the entire system, eventually bringing the lake down to elevation 500 feet above sea level to perform critical tasks including sediment removal from the flowline; replacing and refurbishing the headgates; replacing the last remaining sections of the timber flume (2,300 feet) with a concrete flume; Dike 3 seismic improvements and stopping seepage; inspecting and repairing the tunnel intake, tunnel, forebay, and penstocks; and inspecting and repairing the powerhouse relief valves. An assessment is being done of the lower conveyance system that brings water from the lake to the powerhouse below on East Valley Highway and back into the White River. Once that assessment is complete, necessary improvements can be made. The lake then will be refilled in time for summer recreation.

Cascade appreciates the patience and understanding of the community during this time. With the progress Cascade is making it appears that the lake may be refilled on a fairly normal schedule this spring. Overall, this effort will result in a healthier lake that can be operated more efficiently and safely, and can be refilled with more reliability each spring. Normal refill is between 541.5 and 543 feet. With these improvements Lake Tapps will have stable recreational levels for the next 30 years.

At times during the improvement project, the lake bed is visible and in many instances accessible. Cascade owns the lake bed and, while the public is allowed to recreate on the waters of Lake Tapps, the public is not allowed on the lake bed for any reason. Anyone on the lake bed is trespassing. Access to the lake bed on foot, with all terrain and other vehicles is strictly prohibited. Pierce County Sheriff and Bonney Lake Police officers will be patrolling to enforce against trespassing occurrences. The lake bed may have areas of instability, stumps and other protrusions, and soft areas where individuals and vehicles might be injured or become stuck. Parents should advise their children to stay out of the lake bed. In an emergency, call 911.

For more information and to see pictures of the improvement project visit http://cascadewater.org/project-overview.php

Download a PDF of this article >


September 15, 2014

Lake Tapps Drawdown Begins

Releasing water from the lake began Monday, September 15, 2014.


September 9, 2014

Important Updates: Lake Levels to Drop Significantly Beginning Sept. 15 White River-Lake Tapps Improvement Projects

The White River Lake Tapps improvement projects are underway and, to do all the necessary work, Cascade will drop lake levels up to one foot a day beginning Monday, Sept. 15.

Some communities around the lake are already noticing lower lake levels due to the fact that Cascade has added no new water to the lake since July. Over the next few days homeowners will notice more changes and should take note of their local conditions in determining what actions they need to take related to their homes, docks and water craft. All boats and other water craft should be out of the water before Sept. 15.

In July, Cascade filled the lake to its highest allowable level (elevation 543 feet) and closed the project headgates. No water has been added to the lake since then (other than rainfall) and Cascade has minimized water released through the tailrace to keep the lake as full as possible throughout the summer. Recreational lake levels (approximately elevation 541.5 feet) were maintained through Labor Day weekend.

This week, residents should note their own unique conditions in their locations and make the determination when to remove their boats from the lake. While the major drawdown will not begin until Monday, Sept. 15, some areas may become too shallow for some uses more quickly than others and homeowners should gauge accordingly.

Lake levels and drawdowns depend on which projects Cascade is working on at a respective time, and will be determined on what each project requires.

Cascade is repairing Dike 3, replacing a section of the timber flume, refurbishing the headgates and assessing facilities that drain water from the lake back to the White River. Cascade has already removed more than 100,000 cubic yards of sediment from the flow line and completed work on the twin pipeline and cleaned the fish screens. For a current look at the projects that are underway and/or have been completed, as well as the latest information and current lake levels, visit www.cascadewater.org

Download a PDF of this article >


August 14, 2014

Important Updates on Cascade's White River-Lake Tapps Improvement Projects

Cascade's White River Lake Tapps improvement projects are underway. Over the next few weeks homeowners will notice more changes and should take note of their local conditions in determining what actions they need to take related to their homes, docks and water craft. Cascade will give weekly updates on conditions and activities.

In July, Cascade filled the lake to its highest allowable level (elevation 543 feet) and closed the project headgate. No water has been added to the lake since then (other than rainfall) and Cascade has minimized water released through the tailrace to keep the lake as full as possible throughout the summer. Weather dependent, it is expected that recreational lake levels will be maintained through Labor Day.

Lake levels will be reduced following Labor Day. Cascade has tentatively set - project dependent - Monday Sept. 15 to begin this drawdown, during which the lake level will be reduced by up to a foot a day.

Residents should note their own unique conditions in their locations and make the determination when to remove their boats from the lake. While the drawdown will begin after Labor Day, some areas may become too shallow for some uses more quickly than others and homeowners should gauge accordingly.

Lake Levels and drawdowns depend on which projects Cascade is working on at a respective time, and will be determined on what each project requires.

Cascade is repairing Dike 3, replacing the last section of the timber flume, refurbishing the headgates and assessing facilities that drain water from the lake back to the White River and removing more than 100,000 cubic yards of sediment from the flowline.

For a current look at the projects that are underway and/or have been completed, as well as the latest information and current lake levels, visit www.cascadewater.org

Download a PDF of this article >


July 22, 2014

Cascade White River-Lake Tapps Improvement Projects Underway

Lake Tapps WA - Lake Tapps has reached its highest approved level (elevation 543 feet). The lake was filled to full recreational level as Cascade begins its maintenance outage.

The headgates are closed and no water will be added to the lake during the remainder of the recreational season. Cascade will minimize water released through the tailrace. It is expected that recreational lake levels will be maintained through Labor Day and possibly into mid-September.

Cascade is repairing Dike 3, replacing the last section of the timber flume, refurbishing the headagates and assessing facilities that drain water from the lake back to the White River.

A reminder that immediately after Labor Day, lake levels will be dramatically reduced - about a foot a day - and that residents should remove all boats from the lake prior to this time.

For more information on Cascade visit www.cascadewater.org

Download a PDF of this article >


July 7, 2014

2014 Update: Lake Tapps Will Be Filled to Maximum Level In Preparation for Fall Drawdown

Lake Tapps WA - Cascade Water Alliance, in conjunction with the Lake Tapps Community Council, announced today that Lake Tapps will rise to its maximum allowable level of 543 feet elevation within the next week and that it will stay there for several days.

The lake will reach this full recreational level in anticipation of a maintenance outage which will require the headgates to be closed. No water will be added to the lake during the remainder of the recreational season; however, Cascade will minimize water released through the tailrace. It is expected that recreational lake levels will be maintained through Labor Day and possibly into mid-September.

In addition to needed maintenance and repairs, Cascade is planning on replacing the last section of timber flume in the flowline between the White River and the lake. This will enable Cascade to maximize diversions from the White River during spring refill (beginning in 2015), offering additional assurance that the lake will achieve recreational levels on schedule.

In addition, Cascade is planning repairs to Dike 3 and a condition assessment of the facilities that drain water from the lake back to the White River. These projects require that the lake level be reduced to approximately elevation 505 - 515 feet in order to provide appropriate worker safety during facility inspections and repairs. For an image of the lake drawn down to about this level (from 2003) click here.

Drawdown will begin soon after Labor Day, with the lowest lake elevation anticipated to be reached in mid-late November. Since the water depth along the shoreline varies, lake front property owners are urged to carefully watch lake levels and make arrangements to have all boats, personal watercraft, etc. removed from the lake before lake levels in their area cause grounding. Residents are also reminded that there are no recreational activities permitted on the lake bed during the drawdown. Hiking, biking, use of motorized vehicles or any other access to the dry Lake bed is prohibited. As a reminder, the majority of the lake bed is a mixture of soil and water which allows both vehicles and people to become stuck while accessing the lake bed.

No debris may be placed on the lake bed. The extended drawdown will however provide an opportunity for residents to construct or repair docks, bulkheads, etc. As a reminder, prior to beginning any repair or construction activity, homeowners must have all the necessary permits and a license from Cascade.

It is anticipated that all work will be completed so that spring refill can begin in mid-late March 2015. Depending on White River flow, recreational levels should be achieved by mid-late May, 2015.

Please refer to Cascade's website at www.cascadewater.org for regular updates on lake levels throughout this process.

In 2009, the Lake Tapps Community Council and Cascade Water Alliance established long term agreements ensuring consistent, seasonal lake levels every year. This announcement is being made in accordance with these agreements.

For the latest in lake level information and for the agreements regarding lake levels please visit http://cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_recreational_lake_levels.php

For more information on Lake Tapps / Cascade agreements visit http://cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_agreements.php

For more information on Cascade visit www.cascadewater.org

Download a PDF of this article >


May 27, 2014

IMPORTANT: Cascade Water Announces 2014-2015 Improvement Projects

Lake Tapps WA - Cascade Water Alliance has announced critical improvement projects it will be doing around the lake this coming fall and winter. The projects will mean a substantial draw down of Lake Tapps. To view the proposed timeline, click here.

Cascade is planning to fix the flume, do seismic improvements to Dike 3 and do a thorough condition assessment of the lower conveyance areas. To do that, Cascade will need to lower the lake level to as low as 505 feet - the lowest the lake has been drawn down since 2003.

Additionally, information is available should residents determine this is a good time to do their own repairs.

For FAQs, click here.

For the latest in lake level information and for the agreements regarding lake levels please visit http://cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_recreational_lake_levels.php

For more information on Lake Tapps / Cascade agreements visit http://cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_agreements.php

For more information on Cascade visit www.cascadewater.org



April 15, 2014

2014 Lake Tapps Spring Refill Update from Cascade, Lake Tapps Community Council

Lake Tapps WA - Cascade Water Alliance, in conjunction with the Lake Tapps Community Council announced today that Lake Tapps is at its minimum recreational level of 541.5 feet in accordance with agreements with the Lake Tapps community.

The lake will reach full recreational level in early May and then be maintained at approximately 542.5 feet. In mid - late July, Cascade will raise the lake level to the maximum allowed under the agreements (elevation 543.0 feet) in anticipation of a likely maintenance outage which will require the headgates to be closed. No water will be added to the lake during the remainder of the recreational season; however, Cascade will minimize water released through the tailrace. It is expected that recreational lake levels will be maintained through Labor Day and probably into mid-September.

In addition to needed maintenance and repairs, Cascade is planning on replacing the last section of timber flume in the flowline between the White River and the lake. This will enable Cascade to maximize diversions from the White River during 2015 spring refill, thus offering additional assurance that the lake will achieve recreational levels on schedule.

In addition, Cascade is planning a condition assessment of the facilities that drain water from the lake back to the White River. This assessment requires that the lake level be reduced to approximately elevation 505 - 515 feet in order to provide appropriate worker safety during facility inspections and repairs. For an image of the lake at a past drawdown that was at or about the level Cascade is considering click here (http://cascadewater.org/pdf/laketapps/laketapps_aerial.pdf)

It is anticipated that all work will be completed so that spring refill can begin approximately March 1, 2015. Depending on White River flow, recreational levels should be achieved by mid-May, 2015.

A public meeting is scheduled for June 4 to provide additional details on the planned maintenance and improvement projects and the schedule for lake levels through spring 2015. Watch for details.

As a reminder, prior to beginning any repair or construction activity below elevation 545.0 feet, homeowners must have all the necessary permits and a license from Cascade.

In 2009, the Lake Tapps Community Council and Cascade Water Alliance established long term agreements ensuring consistent, seasonal lake levels every year. This announcement is being made in accordance with these agreements.

Further, as per the agreements, Cascade will raise the lake to the allowable 543 foot level at least once per year to ensure homeowners recognize where this level is for future planning.

For the latest in lake level information and for the agreements regarding lake levels please visit www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_recreational_lake_levels.

For more information on Lake Tapps / Cascade agreements visit www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_agreements

For more information on Cascade visit www.cascadewater.org

Download a PDF of this article >


December 17, 2013

A year-end reminder from Cascade Water Alliance

As 2013 comes to a close, Cascade wants to remind those living around and near Lake Tapps that, per agreements with the Lake Tapps Community Council, Cascade began lowering the lake level on November 1, and will begin drawing the lake down on January 2, 2014.

Residents will notice a quick drop of the lake - about six inches per day depending on additional rainfall to a level of approximately 533 feet so Cascade can perform dike repairs and other transportation related repairs can be completed. Spring refill is expected to begin around March 1, 2014.

Should residents choose to do any work during this period, it is required that they obtain all necessary permits as well as a license from Cascade.

For more information on the lake levels visit

www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_recreational_lake_levels and www.cascadewater.org/category/lake-tapps-news

For additional information on Cascade’s Lake Tapps agreements visit

www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_agreements

For additional information on Cascade’s licensing and related property management policies visit

http://cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_proposed_property_management_policy.php

Download a PDF of this article >


October 1, 2013

Cascade, Lake Tapps Community Council Announce 2013/14 Winter, Spring Water Levels

The following is the annual 2013/14 Winter, spring lake level announcement from Cascade and the Lake Tapps Community Council:

Cascade Water Alliance and the Lake Tapps Community Council announce that the fall dropdown of Lake Tapps will begin about November 1. Until then, Cascade will maintain the lake at the lower end of the recreational range (approximately 541-542 feet.)

Beginning about November 1, the lake will be quickly lowered to approximately 539 feet by mid-November. The lake will be fully dawn down after the holidays to approximately 536 feet. The lake will begin to be refilled in late February, with a full recreational pool level to be reached by approximately mid-April.

Anyone choosing to do work during this period must obtain the appropriate permits from Pierce County, the City of Bonney Lake, and the state if required. To obtain a Cascade permit, visit http://cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_proposed_property_management_policy.php

All paperwork must be completed prior to beginning of construction.

In 2009, the Lake Tapps Community Council and Cascade Water Alliance established long term agreements ensuring consistent, seasonal lake levels every year. This announcement is being made in accordance with these agreements.

Further, as per the agreements, Cascade will raise the lake to the allowable 543 foot level at least once per year to ensure homeowners recognize where this level is for future planning.

For more information on the lake levels visit www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_recreational_lake_levels and www.laketappsnews.org

For additional information on Cascade's Lake Tapps agreements visit www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_agreements

Download a PDF of this article >


April 2, 2013

2013 Lake Tapps Spring Refill Update from Cascade, Lake Tapps Community Council

Lake Tapps WA - Cascade Water Alliance announced today that the Lake Tapps refill has been completed. The lake is at an approximate elevation of 541.6 feet.

Lake levels will rise to approximately elevation 543.0 feet (the maximum elevation under Cascade's agreement with the Lake Tapps community) in mid to late-April. This level will only be maintained for a few days. The lake will then be lowered to an approximate elevation of 542.5 feet for the remainder of the recreational season.

Homeowners should be reminded that, prior to beginning any repair or construction activity, they must have all the necessary permits and a license from Cascade.

For more information visit www.cascadewater.org

For more information on Cascade's Lake Property Management Policy visit

http://cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_proposed_property_management_policy.php

For more information on Lake Tapps / Cascade agreements visit

http://cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_agreements.php

Download a PDF of this article >


January 28, 2013

Cascade to Lower Lake For Completion of Two Major Transportation Projects

Cascade Water Alliance has received requests to deviate from the 2012/2013 Lake Tapps draw down schedule agreed to between Cascade and the Lake Tapps Community to allow for completion of two major transportation projects. Beginning earlier in January, Cascade began to lower the lake level by approximately 4.5 feet. Reaching the target elevation of approximately 534 feet will be done by February 1 depending on the weather and inflows from rainfall. These projects have been approved and all required permitting has been completed.

In the future, Cascade anticipates maximum winter drawdown will be to approximately 538 feet, absent the need for major dike maintenance or repairs. Homeowners should not expect to have the lake drawn down below that level in the winter for individual dock or bulkhead repairs. Prior to beginning any repair or construction activity, homeowners must have all the necessary permits and a license from Cascade.

For the latest in lake level information and for the agreements regarding lake levels please visit:

http://cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_recreational_lake_levels.php

Download a PDF of this article >


September 25, 2012

Cascade, Lake Tapps Community Council Announce 2012/13 Lake Levels

In 2009, the Lake Tapps Community Council and Cascade Water Alliance established long term agreements ensuring consistent, seasonal lake levels every year. The following is the annual 2012/13 winter and spring lake level announcement from Cascade and the Lake Tapps Community Council:

This fall, in accordance with the Lake Tapps agreements, Cascade will begin to drop lake levels on Nov. 1. This fall and winter, unlike previous years, Cascade will maintain the lake at approximately elevation 538 feet through the holidays. Lowering of lake levels during the winter is necessary to ensure protection of dikes and the integrity of the lake. Cascade can maintain this higher than usual winter lake level because there are no dike repairs anticipated this season. However, if any issues arise that require attention and the lake must be drawn down further to address them, homeowners will be notified.

It is expected that the spring refill will begin as early as mid to late February with recreational lake levels (minimum elevation 541.5 feet) reached no later than April 15, 2013.

Homeowners are reminded that all boats or other items dependent on recreational lake levels be out of the water prior to Nov. 1.

Homeowners should also note that if they plan any new construction or repair or improvements to existing structures, they must first contact Cascade for a license as well as obtain any other applicable city, county, state or federal permits or approvals.

For more information on the lake levels visit www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_recreational_lake_levels and www.laketappsnews.org

For additional information on Cascade's Lake Tapps agreements visit www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_agreements

Media Release PDF>


February 28, 2012

2012 Lake Tapps Spring Refill Update from Cascade, Lake Tapps Community Council

Lake Tapps WA - The following is the 2012 Lake Tapps Spring Refill Update from Cascade Water Alliance and the Lake Tapps Community Council:

Cascade will begin the spring refill of Lake Tapps as early as March 12 with the goal of having the lake completely filled by April 15.

Cascade will be doing operational tests on the fish screen facilities and residents should expect to see the lake rise as much as one foot per day during this period.

For more information visit www.cascadewater.org
For more information on Lake Tapps / Cascade agreements visit http://cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_agreements.php


October 21, 2011

Cascade, Lake Tapps Community Council Announce 2011/12 Winter, Spring Water Levels

The following is the annual 2011/12 Winter, Spring water level announcement from Cascade and the Lake Tapps Community Council:

In 2009, the Lake Tapps Community Council and Cascade Water Alliance established long term agreements ensuring consistent, seasonal lake levels every year. This fall, in accordance with these agreements, Cascade will begin to drop lake levels on November 1 to allow residents and Cascade to do repairs, improvements and new construction as needed.

The lake will be at its lowest point (approximately 535 feet depending on the weather) for between two and six weeks from about early January to mid-February. At that time, spring refill will begin, with a target lake level of the 541.5 feet by mid-April.

Residents should note that if they plan to do any work, improvements, repair or new building on existing or new structures, they must first contact Cascade for a license as well as the other applicable city, county or state agencies for appropriate permits.

For additional information on Cascade's Lake Tapps agreements visit www.cascadewater.org/lake_tapps_agreements

Also, visit www.cascadewater.org and www.laketappsnews.org
Download a PDF of this article >


General Lake Level Information

In December 2009 Cascade Water Alliance (Cascade) became the owner of the Lake Tapps Reservoir. The boundary line between the Reservoir and the upland properties was set through a 1954 Deed as a contour line around the perimeter of the Reservoir described by the elevation of 545 feet. Over the years, many homeowners obtained easements or licenses from either Cascade or Cascade's predecessor, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), to use Cascade's Reservoir property below the 545-foot line (such uses include bulkheads, landscaping areas, swimming areas, etc.). While these easements and licenses allowed for homeowners to use Cascade's property, all rights remained subject to PSE ability (now Cascade's ability) under the 1954 Deed to raise lake levels to the 545 feet elevation.

In May of 2009, Cascade entered into an agreement with the Lake Tapps Community, agreeing to maintain a water levels during the Annual Recreational Period in a range called "Normal Full Pool" between 541.5 feet and 543. feet.(1) This determination of Normal Full Pool was achieved through extensive modeling and negotiations to assure that all interests would be protected. With the storage capability of Normal Full Pool, Cascade was able to agree with the Community that provisions of recreational lake levels would take priority over the provision of municipal water supply. These elevations and priorities were included in the state water rights issued to Cascade in 2010. As a result, at this time, all homeowners assume the risk of damage to their property as a result of Cascade raising the lake levels to 543 feet, the high range of Normal Full Pool. This is two feet less than was reserved in the 1954 Deed.


June 17, 2011

Cascade Water Alliance has announced that it will raise lake levels in Lake Tapps for the summer. Lake levels will be going up two inches, and will remain at 542.50 feet throughout the summer months


April 19, 2011

On April 15, in accordance with the 2009 Agreement with the Lake Tapps Community Council, the water level elevation in Lake Tapps reached 541.5 feet gage height (or 540.0 feet NGVD 1929 - see sidebar explanation), which is full pool for the summer recreation period.

Cascade intends to raise the Lake Level approximately 6 inches (to 542.0 feet gage height or 541.4 feet NGVD 1929) and maintain that level, probably until June. At that time, Cascade plans (depending on available White River flows) to increase Lake Levels approximately another 4 to 8 inches (to 542.3 to 542.6 feet gage height or 541.8 to 542.1 feet NGVD 1929) and hold approximately that Lake Level until September. It is unlikely that Cascade will raise the Lake Level any higher than this during the summer.

The summer Lake Level planned for this year is the same as the Lake Level maintained last year - and is consistent with the Lake Levels PSE maintained historically.


April 7, 2011

Cascade will divert approximately 900 - 1000 cfs from the White River into Lake Tapps. At the same time, Cascade will test equipment for releasing water from the Lake back to the White River. This combination of activities should result in Lake Levels rising 1.5 to 2 feet by Friday.

Cascade is experiencing operational issues with the fish screens and will spend the next week fixing them, during which time lake levels will remain at about current levels. Once the screens are fixed, lake levels may vary from 541 to 542.5 feet/


March 30, 2011

Cascade directs the diversions from the White River into Lake Tapps. Maximum diversion permitted is 1000 cfs. Actual diversion depends on a number of factors, including maintaining minimum White River flows and flow through the Power House and Tailrace. At this time, the diversion is also influenced by the repair work Cascade is completing on sections of the flume and the fish screens.

Over the past approximately 10 days, the Lake Level has risen about .25 - .30 feet per day (3 - 3.5 inches per day). Diversion from the White River has ranged from about 200 cfs to about 500 cfs (average diversion has been about 300 - 350 cfs).

Later this week, Cascade is planning to divert between 800 and 1000 cfs from the White River for approximately two days.

Full recreational level (approximately elevation 541.5 - 542.0) is expected about April 15.


March 23, 2011

Lake Levels To Increase Over The Next Two Weeks

Cascade expects water levels in Lake Tapps to rise to January/February levels by this weekend (March 26 - 27). A large additional rise in Lake Levels (approximately 1 to 1.5 feet) is expected in the first part of next week (March 28 - 30). By the following weekend (April 2 - 3) Lake Levels are expected to be approximately 2 to 2.5 feet above the January/February Lake Levels. Lake Levels should then rise at a slower rate until full recreational level is reached approximately April 15.

In November 2010, Cascade began active drawdown of Lake Tapps, and announced that the Lake Level would drop approximately 5 feet over the 2010-2011 winter period and that refill would begin in February 2011. This target level was reached in mid-January 2011 and held relatively constant until mid-February. In early February, Cascade announced that repairs to Barrier Dam near Buckley were necessary and that other repairs begun in 2010 were still on-going. Therefore, Lake Levels would not likely rise significantly until mid-March.

In late February, Cascade announced that in order to implement needed repairs to the Barrier Dam and complete testing of the upgraded and refurbished fish screens, the Lake would be actively managed over the next two months. The expectation was for Lake Levels to drop approximately two feet by the middle of March and then rise quickly beginning in late March. Full recreational levels were expected on or before April 15, 2011.

Lake Levels did drop approximately 1.5 feet by mid-March. While the Lake Level has risen recently, the current Lake Level is still almost 1 foot below the Lake Level in January/February.

For the past 6 months Cascade has been working to repair a number of Project facilities (including sections of the flume which carries water from the White River to Lake Tapps, the fish screens and the Barrier Dam). Testing these facilities (and the availability of water in the White River) has been a major driver in the recent refill activity.


February 7, 2011

Cascade is attempting to refill the lake using rain and drainage from the basin. The warm temperature and rainfall increased the flow of the river substantially which pushed out sections of the diversion dam. Cascade is meeting with the Corps on Feb. 10 to discuss when repairs can be completed. Work continues on the flume and Cascade will not be using the flume to fill Lake Tapps until the repairs are complete. It will be a slow process and the lake levels will not be going up quickly until the middle of March.


September 28, 2010

Cascade Announces Lake Tapps Levels for Winter, Spring

Cascade Water Alliance, in coordination with the Lake Tapps Community Council and the Cascade Water Alliance, will begin actively dropping the water level of Lake Tapps beginning Nov. 1 as part of the reservoir's annual wintertime drawdown. Cascade and the Community Council urge lakeside residents to remove their boats before the drawdown starts to avoid water craft from becoming stranded in shallow, exposed inlets.

Under the collaborative drawdown plan, Cascade intends to lower the reservoir's water level by about five feet, and then consult with the community council on whether to reduce the lake level even further. A key goal of the drawdown is to assess the lake and dike condition and remove debris. The annual drawdown is also designed to ensure that waves from severe winter storms do not overtop the reservoir's dikes.

Refilling of the reservoir is scheduled to begin in February, 2011 with the goal of returning the lake to its full, summer recreational level by mid-April. This schedule may be affected by severe winter weather and flood damage to the White River diversion dam near Buckley.

Cascade purchased Lake Tapps from Puget Sound Energy in 2009. PSE had used the lake as a reservoir as it produced hydroelectric powers. Cascade has long term plans to use the lake for regional municipal water supply and recently was granted water rights from the State Department of Ecology, although Cascade will not use it for many decades.

During the past year, Cascade has worked with the community to address milfoil, efforts to ensure a healthy lake and in supporting community events. Over the next few months, Cascade will work with entities around the lake to address other issues surrounding operations and activities on and around the lake.


April 26, 2010

Cascade Water Alliance announced today that the levels in Lake Tapps have officially reached full recreational pool of 541.5 feet.

The lake levels will remain between 542 and 543 feet throughout the summer months. While the lake has been drawn down in the winter to allow for dike repair, dock maintenance and milfoil control, refilling the lake this year became more difficult as nature did not cooperate, says Cascade Board Chair Lloyd Warren.

"March 2010 was one of the driest Marches on record - about 20 percent below the lowest recorded levels" said Warren. "The refill level of Lake Tapps flattened out at about 535.5 feet in mid-March, and we really pushed to fill the lake since then. We had expected to be at full levels by the first week of May but were able to get the levels up by April 26.

Cascade's 2009 agreement with the Lake Tapps Community Council (LTCC) states that Cascade will begin filling the lake in February, which it did, aiming for a full lake by April 15. The 2010 refill began on February 15 in coordination with the LTTC and consistent with the White River Management Agreement (WRMA) with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Puyallup Tribe of Indians.

Cascade's refill was proceeding on target until March 17 when the White River flows slowed dramatically to a level less than the minimum. Minimum in'stream flows allowed for in the WRMA by other agreements were not met by stream flows so there was no water available for diversion into the lake. The refill level of Lake Tapps flattened out at about 535.5 feet in mid-March. Once precipitation began again at the end of March, lake levels rose. For the most up to the minute levels, visit USGS's Lake Tapps Real Time Lake Levels page.

"Rest assured that Cascade is committed to full recreational lake levels," says CEO Chuck Clarke. "Lake Tapps is a wonderful regional asset and we share with you the desire to have it always at its best."

Cascade Water Alliance is a municipal corporation, comprised of the cities of Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, Tukwila, the Covington Water District and the Sammamish Plateau and Skyway Water and Sewer Districts to provide safe, clean and reliable water to its 370,000 residents and 22,000 businesses. Cascade purchased Lake Tapps from Puget Sound Energy in December, 2009. Puget had operated the lake for hydroelectric power generation for almost a century and stopped power production in 2004.



Report from Pierce County TV about Lake Tapps' Lake Levels


April 2010

"Cascade Water Alliance is committed to filling Lake Tapps to full recreational levels," says Lloyd Warren, Chair of the Cascade Board of Directors. "Unfortunately, nature has produced an abnormally dry year."

March 2010 was one of the driest Marches on record - about 20 percent below the lowest recorded levels. Cascade's 2009 agreement with the Lake Tapps Community Council (LTCC) states that Cascade will begin filling the lake in February, aiming for a full lake by April 15. The 2010 refill began on February 15 in coordination with the LTTC and consistent with the White River Management Agreement (WRMA) with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Puyallup Tribe of Indians.

Cascade's refill was proceeding on target until March 17 when the White River flows slowed dramatically; to a level less than the minimum Minimum in-stream flows allowed for in the WRMA by other agreements were not met by stream flows so there was no water available for diversion into the lake. The refill level of Lake Tapps flattened out at about 535.5 feet in mid-March. Once precipitation began again at the end of March. For the most up to the minute levels, visit USGS's Lake Tapps Real Time Lake Levels page.

"Rest assured that Cascade is committed to full recreational lake levels," says CEO Chuck Clarke. "Lake Tapps is a wonderful regional asset and we share with you the desire to have it always at its best. As flows in the river get back to normal, the lake will be filled ' hopefully no later than early May."

Cascade Water Alliance is a municipal corporation, comprised of the cities of Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, Tukwila, the Covington Water District and the Sammamish Plateau and Skyway Water and Sewer Districts to provide safe, clean and reliable water to its 370,000 residents and 22,000 businesses. Cascade purchased Lake Tapps from Puget Sound Energy in December 2009.


February 2010

The Lake Tapps' current elevation is about 533 feet.

In late 2009, early 2010, Cascade lowered the reservoir's water level by about 12 to 14 feet. A key goal of the annual drawdown is to kill milfoil in the lake's shallower areas by exposing the lake bottom grass to freezing wintertime temperatures. The annual drawdown is also designed to ensure that waves from severe winter storms do not overtop the reservoir's dikes. This year's drawdown was lower than anticipated to allow for repair work along Dike 10 to be completed.

Refilling of the reservoir began approximately Feb. 15, 2010 with the goal of returning the lake to its full, summer recreational level by mid-April. This schedule may be affected by severe winter weather and flood damage to the White River diversion dam near Buckley. For more information, view Lake Tapps Spring Season Fill is Underway press release

Additional information on recreational Lake Levels can be obtained at the following web sites:

Lake Tapps' Current Water Levels >

Lake Tapps Community Council >

US Geological Survey >