Lake Levels

Current Reservoir Levels

Lake Tapps Drawdown Update (9/18/19)

As Lake Tapps residents can tell, the reservoir is at full recreation levels. No new water will be added, and the reservoir will begin to slowly float down (the rate will depend on rainfall). Residents should watch levels and remove their boats from the water according to levels in their area, and certainly by the end of September.

Cascade  will actively lower the reservoir level around Nov. 1 to an approximate elevation of 540’ feet, where the reservoir will stay until Dec. 26. Then the level will drop quickly to about elevation 537’ to 538’ to allow Pierce County to do upgrades to its bulkhead at North Tapps Park. The park project should take about six weeks, and the 2020 fill is anticipated to begin in mid-February.

If doing work on your property, this is a good time to obtain the appropriate, required permits and a Cascade license prior to beginning any work. Further, residents should keep in mind as they do work on their property, especially bulkheads, that Cascade can raise reservoir levels to elevation 543’ under current water rights, so any new or modified bulkheads should be built to at least elevation 544’. Cascade raises the reservoir to 543’ once a year for a day or so as a reminder.

USGS Links:

Lake Tapps Level Gage

White River Gage

General Reservoir Level Management

Cascade has owned and operated the Lake Tapps Reservoir since 2009. During that time, Cascade has managed lake levels in accordance with the provisions of the Lake Tapps Reservoir Water Rights, which incorporate relevant provisions from the 2009 Agreement regarding Lake Tapps between Cascade Water Alliance and the Lake Tapps Community and the 2008 White River Management Agreement between the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Cascade Water Alliance.

The Water Rights and the agreements provide for Cascade to maintain recreational reservoir levels or normal full pool, between elevation 541.5′ and 543.0′ (gage height) from April 15 through Sept. 30.

Typical fall drawdown to a lake level of approximately elevation 538′ – 539′ is sufficient to protect the integrity of the Lake Tapps dikes and for any routine inspections. This minimizes the wear on the valves in the power house during fall drawdown and the risk of problems refilling the Lake Tapps Reservoir during periods of water shortage.

Specific dike or other maintenance projects will require Cascade to reduce the lake level in the fall and winter to approximately elevation 533′ to 535′ (some projects may require the level to be lower).