Since November 28, BC Hydro has been releasing water below the John Hart dam and down Elk Falls Canyon into the lower Campbell River. The spill ended last night. Today, fish snorkel surveys are taking place within the canyon below Elk Falls to measure fish productivity as part of an annual monitoring program.
The Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake water level, above the Strathcona dam, has slowly decreased since the past weekend. The cool and dry weather has diminished the water inflows. The reservoir is currently at 219.45 metres, down from a high of about 219.75 metres.
The weather is about to turn warmer and wetter. This will last into next week and BC Hydro is keeping an eye on a potential larger storm that could hit the region early next week.
The Upper Campbell Reservoir is still a bit high for this time of year. In consideration of the reservoir levels and the potential storms, BC Hydro will be proactively initiating another spill down Elk Falls Canyon on Friday evening for flood risk management. The flow over the falls will increase to up to 60 m3/s from the base flow of 4 m3/s. The John Hart generating station continues to run at full capacity.
BC Hydro forecasts the spill lasting through next weekend. Discharge rates are subject to change.
On Friday, BC Hydro will place public safety signage upstream of Elk Falls that advises people to stay away from the river until the spill ends. People are advised to view the falls from designated areas and lookouts
For background, in early November BC Hydro released 85 m/s down Elk Falls, and in late November, provided another water release of 30 m3/s. For December, the spill down the canyon may be up to the 60 m3/s range depending on the potential storms this weekend and next week. The upper reservoirs have been near full levels since October.
– Contributed by BC Hydro.