Our Valued Rivers 

Hydropower is the original Northwest renewable resource, an abundant, low-cost source of energy for families, farmers and businesses across the region. Hydropower is the single-biggest contributor to our region’s energy mix. It attracts major employers and fuels the farmers who feed us and the world, all without adding any carbon to our skies.

Multiple River Benefits

The value of the Columbia and Snake river system extends beyond hydropower to provide multiple economic and environmental benefits:

  • Irrigation for Northwest agriculture
  • Navigable routes for river commerce and the Northwest’s export trade 
  • Flood control for farms and communities 
  • Reservoirs for recreation


Hydro energy, because it can be stored and released when needed, is what turns our lights on.

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Northwest farmers feed the region and the world. They couldn’t do it without the irrigation provided by the Columbia and Snake river system and hydropower.

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Commerce and Jobs

The Northwest economy was built, and continues to thrive, on abundant, reliable, renewable hydropower.  

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Hydropower dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers provide a wealth of recreational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Northwest residents and visitors.

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Flood Control

Northwest dams and reservoirs help protect the region’s families and businesses from devastating floods, saving lives and property.

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The Structure of our Hydro System

Northwest rivers flow through federal dams to transmission lines that power our entire region.

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The Value of the Snake River Dams

Providing renewable power, flood protection and trade to the Northwest, the Snake River dams are simply irreplaceable.

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Climate Change

When it comes to reducing our reliance on carbon-emitting energy sources, the Northwest is miles ahead of the nation—thanks to hydropower.

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nwrpHydro Overview