COURTENAY, B.C- Residents of the Comox Valley will hear alarms along the Puntledge River tomorrow.

BC Hydro is conducting both siren and water flow tests along the river this week, and are advising residents to stay out of the watercourse on Thursday.

They plan to test the safety siren systems along the Puntledge tomorrow, and the water flow systems on Thursday.

Tomorrow’s siren testing will run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

BC Hydro staff will also be along the river to monitor the warning system, and depending on the test results on May 7th, there is a chance a few sirens may be modified and briefly tested again on May 8th.


On May 9th, they advise the public to stay out of the Puntledge River due to the river flow tests and the siren activations that will be taking place.

“On May 9th the generation station will likely still be running at about 20% of capacity, and we will shift some water flow through the Nymph Falls and Stotan falls section of the river, where flows will go from about 6 m3/s to about 20 m3/s,” said Stephen Watson, spokesperson for BC Hydro, in the testing announcement.

“This flow redirection is to keep fish habitat fully covered and limit any potential impacts to fish from the test. After 8:00 am, there will be a quick pulse release from the Comox Dam to increase the river flow by an additional 20 m3/s. This flow should then initiate the siren at the dam and as the water surcharge moves downstream, with the other sirens initiating in sequence. For the last part of the testing, the flow out of the generating station will be increased quite rapidly to test the siren just downstream of the station.”

The flow in the river is expected to increase to 27 cubic metres per second at various times on Thursday, and hit a brief peak of around 50 cubic metres per second.

Temporary caution and danger safety signage will be placed along the river from the Comox Dam to Condensory Bridge.

The water flow siren system test is done once a year.