Lake Tapps Reaches Full Recreational Levels

Cascade announced today that the Lake Tapps Reservoir reached full recreational water levels on April 14. “We were committed to reaching full recreational levels and meeting the expectations set in our agreements, especially with the Lake Tapps community. Once nature cooperated, we were able to take water from the White River through the diligence and hard work of our staff,” says Joe Mickelson, Cascade Operations Manager. “Rainfall over the last several days plus a high freezing level gave the White River the boost we needed.”

Cascade typically maintains seasonal recreational water levels between elevation 541.5 feet and 543 feet from April 15 to September 30, consistent with Cascade’s state water rights and agreements with the Lake Tapps Community Council, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians.  Cascade began its refill of the Lake Tapps Reservoir on February 16 in accordance with those agreements. The refill was proceeding on target until February 27 when the White River flows slowed dramatically. The agreements only allow Cascade to divert water from the White River to the reservoir when the water in the river is above a certain level, called “instream flows”.

Up until last week, instream flows had been impacted by lower than average rainfall along with lower than average freezing elevations, which kept the snowpack from melting.  Rainfall in March was the sixth lowest since measurements began in 1939 and about half the average monthly total.  Recent rainfall and higher freezing temperatures meant river levels increased over instream flows and allowed Cascade to divert water to the Lake Tapps Reservoir.

Residents can monitor overall reservoir water levels by clicking here.