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Upriver Dam

The Upriver Hydroelectric Dam on the Spokane River is owned and operated by the City of Spokane, specifically, the City's Water Department.

Upriver Dam is a straight, concrete gravity dam. Concrete gravity dams rely on the weight of the concrete of which they are built to resist the forces (gravity, water pressure) to which they are subjected.

The Dam operates in a “run-of-the-river” mode, which means there is little or no water storage provided by the dam. As a result, Upriver Dam is subject to seasonal river flows.

The original Upriver Dam was built in 1894. A new concrete dam replaced the old wooden one in 1933. Significant upgrades also were completed in the 1980s.

The Dam generates more than 70 million kilowatts of electricity, annually. Power generated at the Dam is used to pump water to the City's water customers. The Water Department delivers up to 180 million gallons of clean, safe drinking water per day to more than 210,000 people in our community.

Excess power is sold to Avista Utilities, Spokane's investor-owned power utility.


Upriver Dam Fast Facts

  • Total Capacity - 17,700 KW
  • Annual Generation -
    73,962,000 KW-Hr
    Enough power to run one 60-watt light bulb for 140,625 years
  • Firm Energy Sold to Avista Power - 45,000,000 KW-Hr
    Enough power for the annual needs for 4,405 average households
  • Energy for Water Pumping - 28,962,000 KW-Hr
    Pushing water out to serve over 70,000 water services