The drop is the result of a rapid decline in flows coming into Brownlee Reservoir due to upstream conditions caused by low-water throughout the Snake River Basin.
Boaters and other river users will see daily fluctuations throughout the river below Hells Canyon Dam. These daily minimum releases are expected to occur during the night when demand for electricity is low, followed by higher releases during the day as generation increases to meet rising power demand, Idaho Power said.
The increase in daytime flows will depend on electricity demand and the availability of power from other resources on the electrical system.
“We expect these flows to continue into early July,” said Brad Bowlin, company spokesman. Brownlee Reservoir, which is currently within a foot of being full, needs to remain near that level until June 20 to keep bass nests under water, he said. Idaho Power will try to keep the reservoir relatively full through the July 4 weekend.
Although the planned flows are well below what is normal for this time of year, they are within the limits set by Idaho Power’s federal license to operate its three hydroelectric projects in Hells Canyon, Bowlin said.
For current information, river users can (800) 422-3143 for the latest stream flow and Brownlee Reservoir water-level information. Flow information for Hells Canyon look HERE
Photo: Rafting in Hells Canyon by Pete Zimowsky/Idaho Statesman