For Release: 01/20/2020

WRPCO encourages residents, outdoor enthusiasts to use caution as drawdowns begin

Necedah — Wisconsin River Power Company (WRPCO) will begin drawdowns of the reservoirs at its Petenwell and Castle Rock hydroelectric dams next week, an annual step to prepare for increased spring river levels. A gradual drawdown of the Petenwell reservoir will begin Jan. 27, with the Castle Rock drawdown starting Feb. 1.

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.

Water levels may be reduced by up to 5 feet at the Petenwell Dam and up to 6 feet at the Castle Rock Dam while each respective drawdown is in place.

Safety precautions

A drawdown can create unstable ice conditions. To remain safe, residents and outdoor enthusiasts should:

  • 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.

Current reservoir elevation and river flow information can be found at under 'Hydroelectric Project Data.'

Both drawdowns are anticipated to finish by the end of April.

For More Information, Contact: