COURTENAY, B.C. – BC Hydro has announced that it will be releasing extra water from the Comox dam, starting tonight.

“We are forecasting a series of moderate storms to hit the watershed over the next week onward. The amount of precipitation and run-off will be dependent on how the freezing levels may move up and down through these storms,” said Stephen Watson, BC Hydro utilities spokesperson, in a release.

“Regardless, with the higher water inflows into the reservoir, we will need to release extra water from Comox dam beginning tonight to help control the reservoir level throughout these storms.”

The utility will increase the discharge from Comox dam from about 30 cubic metres per second to around 55 cubic metres per second.

Watson said that flow might go higher to around 90 cubic metres per second if the inflows end up being higher than forecast.

He said the utility is asking the public to stay away from the Puntledge River while the flow is increased.

The Comox Lake reservoir is currently sitting at 134.15 metres.

“Generally, at this time of year with storm season, we like to keep it at or below 134 metres,” Watson said.

“Water free-spills over the dam at 135.3 metres, and we lose our flood risk management operational capabilities as the reservoir level moves higher than that level. We are looking to have the reservoir stay below 134.4 metres throughout the forecasted storms over the next week. Our goal is to be able to have flexibility in holding backwater within the reservoir during high tides if needed.”

He noted that the highest tides of the year are set to begin around December 22nd and last to the end of the month.

“The peak tides are 5.4 metres on (December) 25th-27th. Hopefully that will be a quiet storm free period,” Watson said.