For Release: 01/26/2023

Residents, public reminded to use caution near hydroelectric dams as drawdowns begin

Necedah — Wisconsin River Power Company (WRPCO) is sharing important safety steps for residents and outdoor enthusiasts as it begins drawdowns at its hydroelectric dams. These precautions can help people remain safe when traveling near WRPCO’s facilities in Adams and Juneau counties during the next several weeks.

Drawdown details

Each winter, WRPCO performs drawdowns at its Petenwell and Castle Rock hydroelectric dams. During a drawdown, the water level of each facility's reservoir is gradually lowered. This controlled process helps each facility prepare for and manage increased spring river flows caused by melting snow in northern and central Wisconsin.

WRPCO will begin lowering the reservoir at its Castle Rock Dam Wednesday, Feb. 1, and at its Petenwell Dam Friday, Feb. 10. During the drawdowns, water levels may be reduced by up to 6 feet at the Castle Rock Dam and up to 5 feet at the Petenwell Dam.

Safety precautions

A drawdown can create thin or unstable ice conditions. Stay safe near hydroelectric facilities during a drawdown by:

  • Avoiding snowmobiling or driving vehicles on the ice.
  • Obeying all warning signs and heeding flashing lights, horns and sirens.
  • Being aware of rapidly changing water conditions.
  • Bringing a cell phone to contact 911 in an emergency.
  • Staying outside of buoy lines.
  • Having a safe escape route planned and evacuating at the first sign of danger.

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

WRPCO anticipates returning both reservoirs to their normal water levels by the end of April.

For More Information, Contact: