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Hydro asking residents to avoid Puntlege River during equipment test

Equipment testing on the Puntledge River will mean higher flow rates, BC Hydro warns.

Hydro said they are testing the turbine inlet valve, which is located upstream of the powerhouse and within the penstock that delivers water to the powerhouse to generate electricity. The valve passes water to the turbine.

The valve will be opening and closing between March 30 and 31. Water will rise from around 35 cubic metres per second to around 65 cubic metres per second on March 30. The high flow rate will continue throughout March 31 before backing off again in the evening, dropping down to around 27 cubic metres per second and then around zero fairly quickly.

Hydro is asking the public to avoid the river on Thursday because of the high flow rate.

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The public warning system will come on for the Barber’s Hole, Nymph Falls and Stotan Falls sections of the river when the valve closes as overflow water will be diverted down these sections of the river.

Warning signs will be placed along the river on March 31. Hydro asks residents to follow the guidelines and the siren system once it’s begun.

Testing is being done prior to the start of the Puntledge River Flow Control Project. The $47 million upgrading project is set to begin in 2024.

The project will have upgrades done to Comox Dam spillway gates, fish screens, water valves, and diversion dam intake gates.

Hydro said the efforts will make the river and systems safer for recreation and protect fish habitat in the future.

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