The original drinking water source for Everett was Wood Creek, a small stream that flows into the Snohomish River and is located within the current city limits of Everett. Wood Creek was used as the sole source of City drinking water supply from 1898 to 1917.
As the pulp and paper mills flourished in Everett, the demand for water increased significantly. The Wood Creek water supply was abandoned in 1917 when Everett turned to the Sultan River for its new water source. From 1917 to 1929, the Everett’s water supply was taken directly from the Sultan River.
In 1929, an earth-fill dam was constructed on what is now the Chaplain Reservoir. A concrete diversion dam was built on the Sultan River to provide storage. The Chaplain Reservoir dam was raised in 1942 to increase the lake’s storage to its current capacity of 4.5 billion gallons.
The construction of the George Culmback Dam, which formed Spada Reservoir, was started in 1960 and took place in two stages.
Stage one, the initial construction of the dam, was completed in 1964. This was a joint project between the City of Everett and the Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1. The project was designed to provide both water supply and power generation from Spada Reservoir.
Stage two of the construction was renamed the Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Henry M. Jackson, of Everett. Stage two increased the storage capacity of Spada Reservoir to 50 billion gallons, built the PUD powerhouse, and modified the water supply system into Chaplain Reservoir.
Water is now supplied to Chaplain Reservoir from the PUD’s powerhouse through a 246-million-gallons-per-day capacity pipeline. The diversion tunnel, which previously supplied Chaplain Reservoir, is now used in reverse to return water to the Sultan River to provide adequate water flow for fish and as a backup supply to the reservoir.