US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District

Wolf Creek Dam & Hydropower

The Lake Cumberland reservoir is 101 miles long in length and has 1,255 miles of shoreline, providing a total storage capacity of 6,089,000 acre-feet (1 acre-foot = 1 acre, 1 foot deep or 325,850 gallons).  The upper portion of the reservoir containing 2,094,000 acre-feet of area, is used to hold floodwaters which would otherwise cause flooding downstream.  Such impounded water is utilized to the maximum extent possible for power production and the surplus water is released through the spillway gates after any flood danger had passed.

Of the remaining 3,995,000 acre-feet of reservoir capacity, 2,142,000 acre-feet, corresponding to a drawdown of 50 feet, is allocated specifically for power operation, leaving a minimum pool of at least 1,853,000 acre-feet available at all times for public use and conservation purposes.  The electrical energy produced by the project is sufficient to supply the needs of an average city with a population of 375,000.  Incidental to the production of power, the water released through the turbines provides a favorable streamflow below the dam.  In supplementing low flows, this water improves domestic water supply, reduces stream pollution and provides aid to navigation.

The reservoir normally fluctuates between 50,250 acres at the top of the power pool and a minimum surface area of 35,820 acres.  During periods of high inflow, when it is necessary to utilize the floor storage, the surface area may reach 63,530 acres.  However, such floods occur infrequently, and the levels resulting from minor floods and power operations do not seriously interfere with most recreational activities.

More information on the Wolf Creek Dam Safety Rehabilitation Project can be found here

 

DAM

 

 

 

Type

Concrete-gravity and earthfill

Quantities:

 

   Concrete, cubic yards

1,380,000

   Earthfill, cubic yards

10,016,500 

Dimensions:

 

   Maximum height, feet

258

   Length, feet (concrete, 1796; earth, 3940)

5,736

Elevations (above mean sea level):

 

   Top of dam

773

   Top of gates

760

   Spillway crest

723

Spillway crest gates:

 

   Number and type

10, Radial

   Size (width and height), feet

50 X 37

   Discharge capacity, c.f.s.

553,000

Sluices

 

   Number of conduits

6

   Size (width and height), feet

4 X 6

   Total discharge capacity, c.f.s.

9,800

 

 

HYDROPOWER

 

Installation

270,000 kw in 6 units

Rating, each generator, kilowatts

45,000

Estimated energy output, average yearly, kilowatt-hours

800,000,000

 
 

 

RESERVOIR

 

Drainage area, square miles:

5,789

Length of pool at Elev. 760, river miles:

101

Length of shoreline, pool at Elev. 760, miles:

1,255

Area, acres:

 

   Top of flood-control pool (Elev. 760)

63,530

   Maximum power pool (Elev. 723)

50,250

   Minimum power pool (Elev. 673)

35,820

Storage capacities, acre-feet:

 

   Flood control (Elev. 760 - 723)

2,094,000

   Power drawdown (Elev. 723 - 673)

2,142,000

   Dead (below Elev. 673)

1,853,000

   Total (below Elev. 760)

6,089,000