Lake Facts and Information
Population and Drinking Water Supply
- 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 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
- 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.