The Columbia River System is large and complex. This educational feature introduces you to individual projects that play a role in supporting the region’s tribes, communities, industries and fish and wildlife species.
The Bureau of Reclamation operates and maintains Grand Coulee Dam located in Grand Coulee, Wash. As one of the world’s largest concrete structures, it provides irrigation, flood risk management, power generation and streamflow regulation for fish migration. Additional benefits include flows for navigation and recreation.
Grand Coulee Dam provides water to irrigate approximately 600,000 acres in the Columbia Basin Project. The dam’s power production facilities are among the largest in the world, with a total generating capacity of 7,079 megawatts. The average yearly power production is 21 million megawatts with power distributed to the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, in addition to Canada under the Columbia River Treaty. The entire coordinated federal system of hydroelectric facilities provides 35 percent of the entire power supply of the Pacific Northwest.
In addition to its irrigation and power functions, Grand Coulee Dam is the largest federal storage reservoir on the Columbia River and is operated with other storage projects to provide flood risk management downstream as far as Portland, Ore. and Vancouver, Wash. Reclamation operates the dam in close coordination with the 13 other federal projects comprising the Columbia River System that serves a wide range of purposes including, irrigation, flood risk management, hydropower, recreation, irrigation and operations to benefit resident and anadromous fish.
To learn more about Grand Coulee Dam, click on the link or visit www.usbr.gov/pn/grandcoulee.