Wanapum Dam sits in Central Washington near the small communities of Beverly, Schewana, Desert Aire, and Vantage. It spans the Columbia River and state highway 243 runs right alongside it. Here is a look at a dozen fun facts about Wanapum Dam.
-The Wanapum Dam generates over four million megawatt-hours annually.
-The 50 year license for the Wanapum Dam was issued in 1955, construction began in 1959, and initial operation began in 1963.
-The water backed up by the Wanapum Dam forms Lake Wanapum on the Columbia River and extends 35 miles in length.
-The total cost of the Wanapum Dam’s construction was over $93 million.
-Wanapum Dam sits 415 river miles above the mouth of the Columbia River where it empties into the Pacific Ocean.
-The closest dam to Wanapum Dam is Priest Rapids Dam which sits just 18 miles downstream.
-Wanapum Dam has 12 spillway gates.
-Each of the 10 turbine generators used for power production in Wanapum Dam has 150,000 horsepower.
-The waters of Lake Wanapum touch land designated in four different counties: Kittitas, Grant, Douglas, and Chelan.
-The maximum height of Wanapum Dam from its deepest excavation point is 185 feet.
-Prior to the water backing up behind Wanapum Dam and widening the river in the early 1960s, much of the townsite of Vantage had to be relocated to higher ground. Some foundations of the old buildings from that time are still able to be seen beneath the surface of the water.
-The original Vantage Bridge crossed the Columbia River from 1927 to 1962. It had to be removed with the rising water behind Wanapum Dam so it was dismantled and replaced. The bridge was then reassembled at Lyons Ferry, Washington where it spans the Snake River.
Photos of the 2014 Wanapum Dam Drawdown can be seen here: Link