COMOX VALLEY, B.C. – The cold winter is leading to dry conditions at BC Hydro’s Puntledge River facility.

The winter started off wet and mild, but turned dry and cold in January. According to an update from BC Hydro, this has led to February 1st setting the record for the lowest water inflow in the last 50 years.

Spokesperson Stephen Watson wrote in the update that the Comox Lake reservoir is low for this time of the year and is operating in full water conservation mode.

The January water inflows were similar to summer water inflows. The Comox Lake reservoir reached a high of 134.3 metres, with some water being let out for flood risk management. But Watson wrote that since then, the reservoir level has dropped.

The reservoir is currently sitting at 131.8 metres, which is 1.5 metres below average for this time of the year.

BC Hydro has dropped power generation to about 40% of the capacity due to low water abundance. Water flows from the Comox dam have been kept to 16 cubic metres per second (m3/s) to keep fish habitat covered.

As a result of low water abundance, summer might be a challenge and the utility is asking residents to keep the low levels in mind during summer use.

BC Hydro may provide another community update in April.