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Weekend rainfall good news for BC Hydro

COURTENAY, B.C. – The month of May was the second driest in the last 37 years in the Comox Valley.

That’s according to BC Hydro’s Stephen Watson. He noted that the rain this past weekend in the region was good for the Puntledge River system.

“We had about 50 millimeters of rain in the upper Puntledge River watershed. The reservoir was near full,” Watson said.

“It is now full, and we actually released a little bit of water over the weekend but it will go back to typical flows as we go through this week.”

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Watson said that starting tomorrow, over the next five weeks, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the utility is going to have a cautionary notice in place due to the annual fish migration flows for Chinook salmon.

“There’s a caution advisory for people that are in the Nymph Falls and Stotan Falls section of the river on those Tuesdays and Wednesdays into July,” he said.

“This is the time of the year where we help summer Chinook move through the system. They can move past the diversion dam, the Comox dam, and the Comox Lake reservoir and up to the Cruickshank (River).”

Watson explained that to help the salmon move past a five kilometre stretch that includes the Barber’s Hole, Nymph Falls and Stotan Falls areas, Hydro will increase the river flow from about six to ten cubic metres per second.

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“The river flows will be higher than normal, so just be cautious as we go through Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting this week into July,” he said.

He said that they generally like to keep the reservoir full going into June.

“This summer looks to be warmer and drier than normal, that’s what the forecasters are looking at. We’ll adjust our operations and conserve water as we move through the summer, which is the typical situation.”

Temporary safety signage will be in place throughout the affected areas.

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