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.
July 5, 2018
Lake Osoyoos water levels are stabilizing
Water levels in Osoyoos Lake have reached a point of stabilization around summer levels. After rising to well over 916 feet elevation during the May runoff, flows in the river and consequently lake levels in Osoyoos Lake have reached their summer levels. As a consequence, dam operators at the Zosel dam began regulating using the gates at the dam on Friday afternoon, June 29.
As the river continues to decline through the summer, operators will continue to use Zosel’s four gates to keep the lake level within operating limits mandated by the International Joint Commission. This means people living along the lake and those visiting and working in the region can expect to see Lake Osoyoos fluctuating slightly between 911.5 and 912 above sea level from now until September 15, when operators begin to lower the lake to winter levels again.
After the 2018 spring season that included major flooding, things have returned to normal. We will continue to work through the season with our local partners on both sides of the International border to maintain operations at Zosel dam.
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 Osoyoos Lake Board of Control website.
Flooding in Okanogan County
In May 2018, flooding occurred along the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers. Zosel Dam was also affected.