Zosel Dam is the only dam we own and operate. The dam's primary purpose is to maintain lake levels on Osoyoos Lake, which is on the boundary of the United States and Canada near Oroville. Lake levels are mandated by the International Joint Commission, a board made up of representatives from the U.S. and Canada.
The lake hosts summer homes, recreational activities, and supplies irrigation water on both sides of the border.
March 30, 2018
Water levels in Osoyoos Lake near Oroville, Wash., are rising as Canadian water managers in Penticton, British Columbia, continue to release water from Lake Okanagan to prepare for expected high inflows into the lake from melting snows later this year.
Lake Osoyoos is fed by Canada’s Okanagan Lake to the north. Lake levels are regulated at Zosel Dam, which is managed by us. Operational activities on the Okanagan river system in British Columbia influence Osoyoos water levels and making room for snow runoff in the upper watershed puts pressure on Lake Osoyoos.
Once the Zosel Dam gates are wide open, as they are right now, Lake Osoyoos must seek its own level when runoff is high throughout the system. With greater than 100 percent of average snow levels reported in all watersheds in the region, we intend to manage to the usual summer target level at the lake of between 911.5 and 912 feet from May 1 to Sept. 15.
We’ll continue to coordinate with our Canadian partners in managing our end of the system as the spring weather progresses. Sometimes, this can cause inconvenience and occasional flooding to property owners along the lake and down the river itself.
To track the progress of lake levels in real time, as well as find additional information, visit the USGS web page for Osoyoos Lake.
A River Film
We, along with Okanagan Basin Water Board and other partners, recently completed a two-year film project about the communities surrounding Lake Osoyoos. A River Film is a documentary of life in the Okanogan basin on both sides of the border. The film shows cooperation and collaboration among various interests that must share a limited resource in an arid environment. The 40-minute film debuted at the International Board of Control for Lake Osoyoos annual meeting on Oct. 17. Additional screenings can be found on the International Oysoyoos Lake Board of Control website.