File photo of the Puntledge River. Photo by James Wood/99.7 2Day FM/Vista Radio
VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – Heavy rainfall hit Vancouver Island hard last weekend.
Fortunately, according to BC Hydro’s Stephen Watson, the rainfall did not have a negative impact on water flows along the Puntledge and Campbell river systems.
“The Comox Lake reservoir was kind of in the lower-middle side of things before this atmospheric river hit, so we were in a place where we could absorb all the inflows, which is great,” Watson said.
“Having said that, we did have a lot of rain. We had about 145 millimetres of rain over about a 36-hour period…we did have warm temperatures that melted a little bit of additional snow.”
He added that the Comox Lake reservoir has gone up “well over a metre.”
Hydro crews increase flows starting Tuesday night from about 33 cubic metres per second to around 50 cubic metres per second.
That increase will be in effect into next week.
“The reservoir will still continue to go up slightly, but the trend is for it to dry into next week, and then we’ll bring it back down so we’ll be ready for future storm when they hit,” Watson said.
He advised residents to be careful around the Puntledge River while the flows are increased.
“For the Campbell River system we did have a lot of rain, certainly pushing well over 150 millimetres with snow melt, so it has pushed up the upper Campbell reservoir –Buttle Lake up by about a metre or more and it will continue to increase,” Watson said, speaking on the North Island water system.
“We’ve actually increased our power generation output because the reservoir was a bit on the lower side.”
He noted that crews will not need to spill extra water down the system, but the additional water storage has allowed them to generate more power.
“In that situation, it’s allowed that reservoir to come up a bit and allow us to generate some power as we go into the winter period, which is our high-load hours for customers who demand electricity for their households or businesses and commercial operations.”