About BPA Balancing River Uses
To MAIN PAGE About BPA NW Hydro The Columbia River For Kids of all Ages Gallery Lower Monumental Dam The Columbia River has been developed to serve several public purposes, including: flood control, fish protection, power production, irrigation, navigation and recreation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation own and operate the federal dams. Windsurfing on the Columbia

The largest dam, Grand Coulee, irrigates one-half million acres and can produce as much electricity as six nuclear plants. Other Columbia River dams are owned by Northwest utilities and by British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority in Canada.
Irrigating a northwest farm BPA operates the Federal Columbia River Power System to produce electricity within the constraints of the dams' other public purposes. Its a delicate balancing act that requires constant tradeoffs. For example, boaters want full reservoirs, while downstream, water may be needed for fish migration.

BPA coordinates release of water from headwaters dams in Idaho, Montana and British Columbia to get the most value from each drop at every dam all the way to the sea. It also coordinates power production from the river with other resources such as coal and nuclear plants to reduce overall economic and environmental costs.

BPA sells power from the region's only operating nuclear plant, Columbia Generating Station, owned by Energy Northwest (formerly, the Washington Public Power Supply System).
NEXT: Power Revenues Pay BPA's Costs

About BPA Introduction | What Is BPA? | A History Of Service | Balancing River Uses | Power Revenues Pay BPA Costs | Enhancing A Renewable System | Fish and Wildlife Protection | Selling The Northwest's Federal Power | Transmission Lines Connect The Dots | The Future Is Yours | Back to mainpage BPA logo