You can view current data for Lake Washington levels at the USACE Website here (in left sidebar click on Lake Washington /  Lake Washington Elevation)

1.9.18 – Email from William Dowell, Public Affairs Office, Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

I just reviewed the Lake Washington elevation data and the current elevation is right on point and has been since December 1. Typically the elevation is at 20 feet (officially measured at the Locks) and around February 15 we begin Summer refill. We gradually refill the lake reaching 22 feet around May. The Water Manager, working with Locks officials, gradually use that water throughout the Summer, reaching 20 feet around December 1. The Summary Hydrography gives good minimum, mean, and average.Water elevations can be viewed on our public website at:, then clicking on Lake Washington Ship Canals and Lake Washington Elev. Again, we have been hovering right at 20 feet since December 1, which won’t change until around mid-February. We do appreciate the floating home owners and consider them a valued stakeholder. If anyone has questions or concerns we’re happy to answer them.  Sincerely, William Dowell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Work: 206.764.3464, Cell: 206.300.4177

6.19.2017 – Email from William Dowell, Public Affairs Office, Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The Lake Washington elevation is currently at 21.97 feet, as measured at the Locks. This is considered full pool of 22 feet. We have been at this elevation since around June 1. Spillway gates are being used to prevent the forebay (the lake side) elevation from exceeding 22 feet. 

We are in the annual involuntary draft operations period, where the lake has begun water use that usually exceeds inflows. The weather this year has provided more water than typical and as such the forebay elevation is still hovering at the 22-foot mark. Corps water managers are monitoring to prevent it from rising past 22 feet and expect the elevation to begin dropping soon.  I hope the information is helpful. Please let me know if you need anything else. 

Sincerely, William Dowell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Work: 206.764.3464, Cell: 206.300.4177

7.27.2016 – Email from William Dowell, Public Affairs Office, Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

What is boils down to is you haven’t heard from us because there is nothing to report, no news is good news. As of today, Lake Washington’s level is about half a foot higher than the same day last year. That 6 inches means a lot and really the differences have been, we’re getting some rain and the cooler temperatures.

I can assure you we’re still keeping an eye on things — having monthly meetings, looking at forecasts and verifying operating procedures. Even though we initially had concerns, the weather has been cooperating. We understand and value the floating home community as a stakeholder and I will continue to communicate to you. Bill Dowell.

5/4/2016 Army Corps Raising Lake Washington to Summer Elevation Early

Posted 5/4/2016. Release no. 16-012 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Contact – Bill Dowell on 206-764-3464 or

After a really good start, the lake is currently at elevation 21.8 feet, typical for early May and consistent with normal annual operations. However, because of recent dry conditions and forecasts, and significantly earlier than normal snowmelt, Corps water managers intend to complete refill by mid-May instead of the usual June 1 target date.

“If we wait until late May, there may not be sufficient lake inflow to get us to elevation 22 feet,” said Ken Brettmann, senior water manager with the Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Getting the lake to 22 feet is extremely important since every inch of water in the 2-foot operating band is needed for fish passage, lockages, and managing water quality throughout the season.

Refilling early last year helped immensely during the record-breaking drought but Corps officials still needed to alter lock operations. Even with the operational changes of the early refill, limiting water usage for smolt flumes, maximizing lockage efficiency and delaying lockages, the lake briefly fell below the 20 foot minimum elevation water managers try to maintain.

“Last year’s challenging drought conditions reinforced how important it is to fill the lake to the 22 foot elevation each year,” said Brettmann.

Depending on conditions, the lake may remain at full pool through June. The official lake level is measured at the Locks. Lake Washington levels may vary due to the natural gradient between the lake and the locks or wind that can push the lake levels up for short durations.

Vessel owners should closely monitor lake elevations and adjust mooring lines as necessary.

More information on Lake Washington’s status is available on the Corps’ Seattle District Reservoir Control Center website at


Ballard Locks Chittenden Locks drought Lake Washington Lake Washington Ship Canal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers