For Release: 01/26/2024

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

Necedah — Wisconsin River Power Company (WRPCO) is reminding people of important safety steps to take as it begins its yearly drawdowns at its hydroelectric power plants. These precautions can help people remain safe while near WRPCO’s facilities in Adams and Juneau counties during the next several weeks.

Drawdown details
A drawdown is a controlled process where a hydroelectric dam’s water reservoir is gradually lowered. WRPCO will begin lowering the reservoir at its Castle Rock Dam on Thursday, Feb. 1, and at its Petenwell Dam on Saturday, Feb. 10.

WRPCO performs drawdowns at its Petenwell and Castle Rock hydroelectric power plants each winter. The drawdowns help each facility prepare for and manage increased spring river flows 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 during the drawdowns.

Safety precautions
A drawdown can create thin or unstable ice conditions on a reservoir. Stay safe near hydroelectric power plants 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 cellphone 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: