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, and significant upgrades 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.
Follow a tour guide on a walk through the facility and at each stop, you can look all around as you learn a little history, hear how things work and meet a few of the Water Department's skilled staff. If you'd like to visit Upriver in person, you can call 509.742.8141 to schedule a tour.