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
For more information on Lake Tapps / Cascade agreements visit
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:
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://www.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
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
"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.
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: