River Levels Running At Record Lows

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Wednesday July 18 12:22 AM EDT

River Levels Running At Record Lows Local river forecasters are warning of the lowest river levels in our lifetime.This past weekend, the Willamette River fell a half a foot below the zero mark, which is measured at 40 feet, according to KOIN 6 News.

The river's current level is a result of the water released from upstream dams and the tides downstream.

Houseboats are being damaged and so is the economy, as barges and container ships are forced to lighten their loads in shallower waters.

A flight up the Columbia River reveals countless sandbars and exposed reefs, posing unseen hazards for recreational boaters who don't read the water.

Near Government Island, several houseboats are aground, taking a pounding from waves.

"We're expecting the second lowest flow in the Columbia River since 1928," hydrologist David Westnedge says.

At the river forecast center, warnings go out almost daily for low water levels. Tides on the coast actually push and pull water up and down stream. Intermittent releases of water from Columbia River dams are flowing the other way. On the weekends, less water over the dam means less water in the river.

Forecasters say that such conditions will remain until late September.

For more information check out the state Water Resources Department Drought Watch. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/6000/20010717/lo/860440_1.html

-- Tess (webwoman@iamit.com), July 18, 2001

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