Safety around dams

Our hydroelectric resources offer clean, affordable energy for our customers, as well as a variety of public recreation opportunities. Reservoirs, dams, rivers and streams are available for swimming, fishing and boating. Before you visit our recreational areas, please take a moment to learn about hydroelectric power and water safety.


For your safety, please follow these practices:

  • DO NOT ENTER THE DANGER ZONES upstream or downstream of the dam.
  • Obey all warning signs, fences, buoys, booms and barriers. They are put there to protect you. The areas inside are dangerous, stay clear of them.
  • Stay a safe distance outside of the DANGER ZONES when fishing, boating or swimming.
  • Stay away from the edge of water above and below hydroelectric dams and conveyance facilities. Surfaces can be extremely slippery and cause you to fall in the water.
  • Don’t swim in any rapidly moving water. You could quickly be transported into the DANGER ZONE.
  • When recreating in a river, be aware of the water level and check upstream frequently for any sign of increasing currents or rising water levels.
  • Avoid standing or anchoring your boat directly below a dam. Rapidly changing water levels and flows can take you by surprise and you could end up with your boat swamped, or caught in an undertow.
  • Never sunbathe, picnic or camp in an area which may become flooded due to dam operations.
  • Set an example for children, stay close to them, and ensure you can visibly see them at all times. Instruct them to stay clear of the DANGER ZONES. While they may be able to read the warning signs they may not be able to comprehend the magnitude of the hazards in the DANGER ZONE.

Water conditions near a dam

  • Above the dam flow can pull swimmers in and drag them below the water level with such force they can’t escape.
  • Below the dam air trapped in water reduces your buoyancy to a point where even if you are wearing a personal flotation device you may sink below the water level.
  • Water levels and flows above and below a dam can occur rapidly and without warning.

Additional seasonal considerations


  • Stay out of recreation areas that are marked as closed in the winter.
  • Beware of thin ice or heaved ice on fluctuating reservoirs.
  • Never walk on the ice alone.
  • Wear a flotation suit and carry a throw rope.
  • Know that dam operators often lower water levels during winter and spring.

Check water flows before you go or call 1-800-547-1501.

Public safety sirens

Public safety sirens have been installed at many of our facilities. The sirens have been installed as a proactive measure to prevent delays in communication in the unlikely event that sudden flooding or rapid changes in water flows force evacuation of campgrounds or areas immediately below applicable dams, spillways or power plants. These sirens are not intended to communicate evacuation orders to residences outside of the designated areas.

The sirens will not be used to alert people for other types of emergencies. Although residents in these areas may hear the sirens, they are not expected to take any evacuation actions and should instead listen for emergency information from local authorities.

Any necessary evacuations at recreational areas will be conducted by PacifiCorp staff or local authorities as appropriate.