For Release: 02/01/2019

Residents, outdoor enthusiasts reminded of drawdowns at WRPCO dams

Wisconsin River Power Company (WRPCO) is reminding residents and outdoor enthusiasts to exercise caution around its Castle Rock and Petenwell hydroelectric dams as the annual drawdown of each facility's reservoir begins.

A drawdown is a process in which the reservoir located upstream of a dam is lowered. WRPCO performs a drawdown each year at its hydroelectric dams to prepare for spring water runoff caused by melting snow in northern and central Wisconsin. A gradual drawdown of the Castle Rock reservoir will begin this year on Monday, Feb. 4, while the drawdown of the Petenwell reservoir will start on Sunday, Feb. 10.

WRPCO advises ice fishers and others who take part in winter activities on or around the reservoirs that a drawdown can create unstable ice conditions. To remain safe, residents traveling near the reservoirs are reminded to:

  • Avoid snowmobiling or driving vehicles on the ice.
  • Obey all warning signs and heed flashing lights, horns and sirens.
  • Be aware of rapidly changing water conditions.
  • Bring a cell phone and contact 911 in an emergency.
  • Stay outside of buoy lines.
  • Have a safe escape route planned and evacuate at the first sign of danger.

Water levels may be reduced by more than 6 feet at the Castle Rock Dam and 5 feet at the Petenwell Dam. Current reservoir elevation and river flow information can be found at under 'Hydroelectric Project Data.'

Both drawdowns are anticipated to finish by mid-March.

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