Idaho reservoirs are rapidly dropping toward their lowest levels in years as federal officials prepare for high water this spring.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to draw Dworshak Reservoir near Orofino down 155 feet by the end of April to make room for expected floodwaters. At that level, Dworshak’s surface will hover at its lowest ebb since 1976.
“It’s basically empty,” said Cathy Hlebechuk, a corps hydrologist at Portland. “That’s as low as we’ll go for flood control.”
Idaho Power Co. will draw down Brownlee Reservoir along the Snake River south of Hells Canyon to 101 feet below full, its lowest level since 1971.
Even with the drawdown this winter, Dworshak will refill by late June or the first week of July, said Russ Morrow, a civil engineering technician. Morrow calculates for the Reservoir Control Center how much flood control space is needed to handle spring runoff.
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