COURTENAY, B.C. – The increased heat has lead to BC Hydro increasing flows along the Puntledge River system.

Spokesperson Stephen Watson said March and May were the first and second driest months in over 35 years.

He noted that because the snowpack melted so early, inflows have dropped off into the Comox Lake reservoir, at about 40 per cent of what the utility would normally see this time of year.

“In response to that, we’re reducing the Puntledge River flows from 17 cubic metres per second down to 13. That will happen on Thursday,” Watson said.

“That’s basically with the hope to allow those flows to last at 13 cubic metres through into the fall. Hopefully we won’t have to drop flows again.”

He said that flow rate is below the minimum fish habitat flow in the Puntledge, so BC Hydro has been working with governmental fish agencies.

“The wider public will notice the river flow dropping, especially those that tube the river and recreate in and around the river,” Watson added.

He said people can still enjoy the river, but need to remember that because it’s a hydrological facility, flows can and do change.

“We have signage in place and of course, if you hear a siren at all, that means move out of the river system, but by and large, the river flows are very low. People should always be careful in and around water,” Watson advised.

When the flow rate is dropped down on Thursday, August 2nd, power generation will move down to about 25 per cent of capacity.

The flow rate at Nymph and Stotan Falls will remain unchanged at about 6 cubic metres per second for fish habitat within that five to six kilometre stretch of river.

The Comox Lake reservoir is currently at 134.55 metres.

Watson said the reservoir level is dropping by about four centimetres per day. The reservoir storage becomes full at 135.33 metres.