Lake Chelan Water Resources, Water RIghts
The Lake Chelan Hydroelectric Project, originally constructed by the Chelan Electric Company, currently is operated by Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County (Chelan PUD) under a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Under state-issued 1925 water rights and a 1992 agreement with the Department of Ecology (Ecology), Chelan PUD holds the reservoir right to store water behind the Chelan dam and to use the entire flow of the Chelan River for hydropower generation, except for 65,000 acre-feet per year (afy) for existing and future domestic and irrigation uses in the Lake Chelan Water Basin. This 65,000 afy is frequently referred to as the Lake Chelan Reserve (Reserve). The 1992 Agreement between Ecology and Chelan PUD affirmed the 65,000-afy Reserve for non-project purposes, which was approved by FERC in 1993.
As of 2017, there are more than 150 applications on file for new surface or groundwater permits in the Lake Chelan water basin. In order to move forward on processing pending water right applications, Chelan PUD and Ecology entered into an Amendment of the 1992 Agreement to clarify and streamline the regulatory process for allocating water rights from the Reserve and a Memorandum of Understanding to establish accounting business rules to accurately estimate the amount of the Reserve remaining for allocation.
Listed below are links to documents that have been included in discussions at LCWPU meetings.