Tapps drawdown to begin

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

The annual lowering of the water level in Lake Tapps is set to begin Oct. 15.

Puget Sound Energy and homeowners from around the lake have reached an agreement on the timing and the specifics of the winter drawdown level.

According to PSE, if fall precipitation is normal, it will take about five weeks to lower the lake by 16 feet.

Roger Thompson, spokesman for PSE, stated negotiations have been going on for several months to arrive at a target level agreeable to the team, the energy company and state agencies.

The wintertime lowering of the lake helps property owners do repair work on docks, control the growth of milfoil and maintain fresh water in the reservoir.

PSE stated the winter lake level will remain until late March. Beginning about the end of March the reservoir will gradually be refilled to a summer recreation level.

The Department of Ecology is in the process of reviewing the Lake Tapps drinking water rights granted to PSE in June 2003. The Pollution Control Hearings Board sent the water rights back to Ecology July 1, ordering a review after PSE closed the Puget Sound Energy's White River hydroelectric plant near Sumner.

A decision is expected near the end of November.

PSE intends to sell the water rights to Cascade Water Alliance, a nonprofit water supply cooperation.

For current information on Lake Tapps water levels or to report boating, public-safety, or litter problems at the reservoir, call the Lake Tapps Community Information Line at 253-891-5460.

More information on the reservoir's water level also can be found on the Save Lake Tapps Coalition's Web site, at

Dennis Box can be reached at

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