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Hydro still in ‘conservation mode’ following rainy weekend

COURTENAY, B.C. – It was a wet weekend on northern Vancouver Island.

The showers had an impact on both the Puntledge River and Campbell River. However, the impact was not as major as one might think, according to BC Hydro.

“The change in weather was certainly welcome. The issue is that while it has rained, given how dry things are there’s no real run-off,” said Hydro’s Stephen Watson, speaking on the Puntledge River system in the Comox Valley.

“What little run-off is coming into the Comox Lake reservoir is still small, in comparison to the storms we get in the fall.”

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Watson said BC Hydro is still in a water conservation mode, providing flows down the Puntledge River at around 13 cubic metres per second.

“This week, the inflows into the reservoir are not looking to exceed around 13 cubic metres per second, so really we’re still releasing as much water or more than what’s coming in,” he said.

“But certainly this (the rain) is all helping to saturate the ground over time. At this stage, we’ll keep the conservation flows in place and hopefully be able to move up flows later on this month for salmon migration and spawning. We won’t do that until we’re confident that we can maintain those flows well into October.”


Watson said the Campbell River watershed contains three reservoirs, and all of those reservoirs are low.

“The upper Campbell, Buttle Lake reservoir is certainly two to three metres below normal for this time of year,” he said.

“The river flow is only around 30 cubic metres per second, which is basically the lowest we can run it within our license.”

He said that flow rate would probably stay in place until early October.

“The little bit of rain that we’ve had is still not too much. We’re still kind of releasing more water than we’re getting into the system, but any little bit helps,” he said.

“Ideally we plan to increase flows quite significantly in early October for spawning migrating salmon in the Campbell River system, so we look forward to that rain happening.”

He noted that right now, the bit of rain seen over the weekend has not made a huge difference for Hydro operations around the Campbell River system.

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