BC Hydro planning historic low flow for Campbell River watershed
The John Hart Dam is pictured in a Goat News file photo. Photo by James Wood/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio
CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C – Dry conditions in the Campbell River watershed are forcing BC Hydro to move water levels to summer conditions a month early.
BC Hydro will be closely monitoring the Campbell River water system, despite above average precipitation numbers in April.
BC Hydro said in a press release that they will be monitoring the watershed not only throughout the summer, but also looking ahead to the fall, and the salmon migration and spawning period.
They also aim to keep in close communication and coordination with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada through October.
BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson said in the release, that since March 25th BC Hydro has held the Campbell River watershed at about 69 cubic metres per second (m3/s). It is below the preferred level of 80 m3/s that keeps the riverbed fully covered with water.
Watson said they may have to lower the flow rate even more this May.
“We may then potentially drop the river flow down to about 30 m3/s as early as late May to conserve water within the upstream reservoirs,” said Watson.
When BC Hydro lowers the river flow, they will have biologists on the river to move fish that may get isolated back into the Campbell River mainstem.
Watson said this was the first time BC Hydro is looking to lower the flow rate in May since the 90’s.
“This would be the first time since the Interim Flow Management Strategy operation regime that started in the late 1990s, and the water use planning regime more recently, that we look to lower that flow rate to 30 m3/s within the month of May.”
BC Hydro may provide a water supply and operations update in June.