Lack of rain affects drawdown

Owners should secure boats, docks earlier than normal

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POST FALLS - Avista Utilities usually begins the fall drawdown of Lake Coeur d'Alene starting the Tuesday after Labor Day.

The goal is to have the lake about a foot down from summer level of 2,128 feet by the end of September.

This year the lake is already slightly more than a foot below full pool.

"Because of the low snowpack and lack of rain this year, the lake has been gradually lowering over the summer even though Post Falls discharge has been maintained at minimum volumes," an Avista press release states.

Avista does not plan to increase discharge at Post Falls until inflows into the lake increase.

After the end of September, Avista will draw the lake down at the normal rate, approximately 1.5 feet per month, until the lake reaches its winter level. At that time, lake levels are determined by natural inflows.

"Property owners and boaters should take measures to secure docks and boats for the winter season earlier than normal," the press release states.

As part of Avista's federal license to operate its Spokane River Hydroelectric Project, which includes Post Falls Dam, Avista is required to maintain the level of Lake Coeur d'Alene at or near the summer full-pool elevation of 2,128 feet from as early as practical in the spring until the Tuesday after Labor Day, while keeping a minimum discharge at Post Falls Dam.

With the record-setting dry summer and low snowpack, the lake's elevation as of Tuesday is 2,126.92 feet, which is 1 foot and 1 inch below normal maximum summer level.

Avista will continue with the required minimum discharge at Post Falls which may continue to slowly decrease the level of the lake. The river users between Lake Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls Dam should be aware that water levels can fluctuate at any time depending upon weather and dam operations.

Customers can access water flow information at avistautilities.com/waterflow or the information is available on the 24-hour telephone information line at 769-1357. Notification of anticipated elevation changes on Lake Spokane, the Spokane River and Lake Coeur d'Alene will be recorded.

The information is provided to advise shoreline property owners and commercial and recreational users of changes in the lake and river elevation levels that may affect plans for water use.

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