Wanapum Dam is located in Central Washington, just south of the town of Vantage and Interstate 90. Wanapum Dam sits on the Columbia River and is surrounded by agriculture and outdoor recreational opportunities. You can access Wanapum Dam, the picnic area and viewpoint, as well as the visitors center there very easily right off of Highway 243.
Fun Facts About Wanapum Dam
-Construction began on Wanapum Dam in 1959 and the project was finished in 1963.
-The Wanapum Dam got its name from a band of Native Americans who live along the Columbia River between present day Vantage and the Tri-Cities.
-No tax money or government appropriations were used for the construction of Wanapum Dam. It was financed through bonds that were paid off through the sale of power.
-Wanapum Dam spans the Columbia River, touching Kittitas County on the west side and Grant County on the east side.
-The cost of construction of Wanapum Dam was $93,277,690.
-The water backed up behind Wanapum Dam is known as Lake Wanapum.
-Wanapum Dam measures in at 185 feet tall.
-Wanapum Dam is 8,320 feet long from shore to shore.
-Wanapum Dam is home to 10 turbine generators for power production.
-Wanapum Dam’s spillway has 12 gates. Each gate measures 50 feet by 68 feet.
-Wanapum Dam is operated by the Grant County PUD.
-In exchange for getting the license to operate Wanapum Dam, the Grant County PUD is responsible for, among other things, protecting hundreds of Wanapum Tribe archaeological sites in the area surrounding the dam.
-February of 2014 saw the Wanapum Dam make national news as a crack that measured two inches in width was discovered below the waterline. The water level of Lake Wanapum was lowered more than 25 feet to reduce stress on the dam walls.
-The closest dam upstream from the Wanapum Dam is Rock Island Dam near Wenatchee. The closest dam downstream is Priest Rapids Dam which is just 18 miles away.