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Grand Coulee Dam

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Construction of Grand Coulee Dam began in 1933 and was completed in 1942. Grand Coulee Dam is the largest hydropower producer in the United States with a total generating capacity of 6,809 megawatts. It is also part of the Columbia Basin Project, irrigating more than 600,000 acres, and is the cornerstone for water control on the Columbia River in the United States. Video Transcript PDF 23 kb
Grand Coulee News
04/11/2014 Lake Level Update HTML
03/28/2014 Relamation Awards Security and Law Enforcement Contract to the Colville Tribes HTML
03/13/2014 Dye Test to be Conducted at Grand Coulee Dam HTML
01/15/2014 Power Manager Change at Grand Coulee Dam HTML
Visitor Information
John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Plant Guided Tour HTML
Grand Coulee Dam Fact Sheet PDF 190 kb
Visitor Center Exhibit Brochure PDF 4.72 mb
Columbia Basin Project Brochure PDF 700 kb
John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Plant PDF 1.32 mb
Third Power Plant Overhaul Project HTML
John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Plant Modernization Scoping HTML
Time Lapse Video: Third Power Plant Rotor Pull
Grand Coulee Dam's Third Power Plant saw a monumental lift on October 26, 2009 when one of the 600-megawatt generators was taken out of service for repairs. The nearly 2,000 ton rotor was removed from the generator and transported to the far end of the powerplant, where it will be stored while the repairs are completed.
Water Data
Lake Level Weekly Update
Lake Elevation and Discharge from Grand Coulee Dam
Grand Coulee Data from the US Army Corps of Engineers
Call (800) 824-4916 for recorded information about the lake elevation.

Grand Coulee Dam was the key to the development of power on the Columbia River — the greatest potential source of hydroelectric energy among the rivers in America. Original plans considered ten dams on the Columbia River between the Canadian border and the mouth of the river.

Grand Coulee Dam forms Lake Roosevelt, extending upstream 151 miles to the Canadian Border. It has a 600-mile shoreline and a surface area of 82,000 acres. In 1948 Congress designated Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, which is operated by the National Park Service.

Grand Coulee Dam provides water to irrigate approximately 600,000 acres in the Columbia Basin Project. In addition to its irrigation and power functions, Grand Coulee Dam is a primary factor in controlling the floods on the Columbia River.

John Keys III, Pump-Generating Plant Dedication Ceremony


In its generally southwesterly course from Canada to the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River in central Washington forms a half loop known as the Big Bend, between the mouths of the Spokane and Snake Rivers.

During one of the ice ages, a glacier extended across the  present river channel, diverting the flow across the open eastern side of the Big Bend loop. By the time the ice age had passed, this diverted water had eroded what is now known as the Grand Coulee, so that when the river returned to its present channel the Coulee was left as a potential high-elevation irrigation storage reservoir, waiting only to be sealed at each end and filled with water.

Grand Coulee Dam and powerplants are located in the present Columbia River Channel adjacent to the upper end of the Grand Coulee, about 90 miles northwest of Spokane, Washington.


Last Update: April 11, 2014 10:21 AM