Lake Whatcom is the drinking water supply for about 100,000 residents of Whatcom County, about half the county’s population.
Lake Whatcom provides drinking water for the City of Bellingham, the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District, several smaller water districts and associations, and a few hundred homes that draw water directly from the lake.
The City of Bellingham withdraws water from Basin 2 through a 1,200-foot pipeline that goes to Whatcom Falls Park.
The population of the Lake Whatcom Watershed is roughly 15,000 people or 6,500 homes.
Volume, Area, Elevation
Lake Whatcom holds about 250 billion gallons of water.
Lake Whatcom is about 10 miles long and just over a mile wide at its widest point.
Total shoreline length is approximately 30 miles.
Surface area of Lake Whatcom is about 5,000 acres, with 8 percent within City limits.
Surface area of Lake Whatcom Watershed is about 36,000 acres, with 3 percent within City limits.
Average elevation is approximately 314 feet above sea level.
Maximum lake level is 314.94 feet.
The City of Bellingham controls lake level using a control dam at the head of Whatcom Creek.
Tributaries and Drainage
Lake Whatcom is fed by 36 tributaries, including: Silver Beach Creek, Carpenter Creek, Olsen Creek, Smith Creek, Anderson Creek, and Austin Creek. Other creeks flow only intermittently.
Lake Whatcom also receives water diverted from the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River.
Lake Whatcom naturally drains into Bellingham Bay via Whatcom Creek.