July 10, 2015: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license governing Avista’s Spokane River Project operations was issued in 2009, balancing the needs of all water users. This balance takes into account Coeur d’Alene Lake’s water levels and the Spokane River flows downstream of Post Falls, among other issues.
In compliance with the FERC license, Avista expects that the Post Falls Hydroelectric Development (HED) will begin discharging the minimum of 500 cubic feet per second this weekend or early next week. This will help maintain Coeur d’Alene Lake levels as well as keep water in the Spokane River throughout the rest of the summer.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the Washington Department of Ecology, and Avista would like to advise our community that very poor snowpack in the entire Spokane river watershed, combined with continued hot, dry weather has reduced water levels in Coeur d’Alene Lake, as well as flows in the Spokane River.
Avista’s FERC license, based on studies and collaborative negotiations including many parties over several years, carefully balances Coeur d’Alene Lake levels and downstream river flows. These requirements take into account fisheries and water quality, as well as public recreation. Avista’s prior FERC license included a much lower required discharge, and no reference to lake level management. Avista worked with agencies, tribes, local governments and citizens groups to plan the current operations of Post Falls (HED) as they impact Coeur d’Alene Lake and the Spokane River
“In dry years like this, the connection between the aquifer and the river becomes quite clear,” said Guy Gregory, Senior Hydrogeologist for Ecology’s Eastern Region Water Resources Program. “Water use by people directly affects river flows. That’s why we hope people will use water wisely and efficiently. Fix a leak, don’t water the sidewalk and pay attention to how much you irrigate. It matters.”
River recreationists can monitor flows by visiting avistautilities.com/waterflow when planning water-related activities.
About Avista Utilities Avista Utilities is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy. We provide energy services and electricity to 369,000 customers and natural gas to 329,000 customers in a service territory that covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.6 million. Avista Utilities is an operating division of Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA). For more information, please visit www.avistautilities.com.
The Avista logo is a trademark of Avista Corporation.
About Washington Department of Ecology
The Department of Ecology protects Washington’s environment and quality of life. The mission is to protect, preserve and enhance Washington’s environment, and to promote the wise management of our air, land and water for the benefit of current and future generations.
About Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
DEQ is a state department created by the Idaho Environmental Protection and Health Act to ensure clean air, water, and land in the state and protect Idaho citizens from the adverse health impacts of pollution. DEQ’s mission is to protect human health and preserve the quality of Idaho's air, land, and water for use and enjoyment today and in the future.
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