Store in winter, release in late spring: Lake Pleasant water levels rising

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Lake Pleasant Rising

Popular lake just northwest of Phoenix rises 2 feet during past week

During the cooler, winter months, CAP is reliably delivering Colorado River water halfway across the state – and uphill – to CAP storage reservoir Lake Pleasant.

During the past week, the Lake Pleasant water level has ascended a total of about 2 feet. On Wednesday, Dec. 16, the lake was at about 1,676.5 feet in elevation and 72-percent full. The lake has risen about 23 feet since filling began, and the CAP operational plan (subject to change) calls for the lake to hit 1,696.2 feet in elevation by the end of May.

See real-time, animated Lake Pleasant operations data. These graphics show current water levels and pumping and releasing from New Waddell Dam.

Winter storing, late spring releasing

Lake Pleasant is roughly at the midpoint of the CAP system, just upstream from where CAP will ultimately deliver the majority of water to Arizona cities, agricultural and tribal users. The ability to utilize Lake Pleasant for storage provides flexibility to balance Colorado River water supply diversions and customer deliveries. This also maintains energy costs.

A money-saving strategy

Fortunately, seasonal energy prices are lower during these winter months. CAP’s yearly pumping plans take advantage of low energy prices during these months to move more water. When fill season concludes during the end of May, Lake Pleasant will be full and ready to release water for deliveries to water users.

This winter storing in Lake Pleasant, it turns out, also helps save CAP customers money.