Routine Maintenance Requires Drawdown at Black Canyon Diversion Dam

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 383-2207
Brent Jensen, (208) 365-2600 ext. 18

For Release: October 25, 2013

EMMETT, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation is lowering Black Canyon Reservoir about 13 feet to perform routine maintenance at the facility located on the Payette River about 5 miles northeast of Emmett, Idaho.

Reclamation started drawing down the reservoir on Thursday and will continue lowering it about 6 inches a day until November 19 when it will be at an elevation safe enough for work crews to clean the trash racks of debris. As the drawdown takes place, Reclamation is advising people to exercise caution around the reservoir and riverbanks.

"Exposed sandbars in the upper reservoir may appear attractive for fishing or other activities, but people really need to know they could be very dangerous," said Steve Coulter, Black Canyon Facility Manager. "The riverbank could also be unstable for people and their pets."

Cleaning trash rack of debris improves water flow to the turbines which generate hydroelectric power. While crews work on the trash racks, the Black Canyon Irrigation District will take advantage of the lower levels to perform maintenance on the headworks to the Black Canyon Canal.

The 13 foot drawdown will put the reservoir at elevation 2485 feet; normal pool elevation is at 2498 feet.

Black Canyon Diversion Dam, completed in 1924, is a multipurpose facility that provides irrigation water and hydropower.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.