BC Hydro continuing to monitor Campbell River system to manage flood risk

UPDATE: Reservoirs have leveled off but more rain expected

The Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake is leveling off for now, BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson reports.

BC Hydro began moving “as much water as possible” today after water inflows into the Campbell River system have proven to be “very high” due to heavy rain.

“Last evening, we increased the spill through the Campbell River system and the three dams as we try to control the reservoir and consider downstream flood risk,” Watson says.

BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson said that between Tuesday and Thursday, there has been between 130 and 190 mm of rain fall into the upper Campbell River watershed and between 75 and 105 mm in the lower elevations.

As a result, the inflows into the reservoir above the Strathcona Dam hit a peak hourly flow of 1,100 cubic meters per second Wednesday evening and after receding to around 700 cubic metres per second on Thursday morning before rising again to 1,000 cubic metres per second Thursday afternoon.

The Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake was at 220.2 metres and rising yesterday afternoon, rising one metre since Tuesday evening. It is now at 220.42 metres and has leveled off, Watson says.

BC Hydro began moving as much water as possible today within the banks of the lower Campbell River due to concern about two large forecast storms expected today and tomorrow and then again Monday to Wednesday.

“The storm for early next week could be the largest,” Watson says. “Of course, forecasts can change.”

Consequently, beginning last night, BC Hydro began increasing the spill from the John Hart Dam from 120 cubic metres per second to 330 cubic metres per second.

“This will provide a total discharge from John Hart facilities, including the generating station, to about 450 cubic metres per second,” Watson says. “This is intended to keep the water flows within the river banks downstream.

Today, Watson adds, “We continue to have close coordination and awareness with the City of Campbell River and Strathcona Regional District staff. BC Hydro will adjust our flood risk management spill downstream as needed based on actual inflows that come into the system.

“Please continue to stay away from the Campbell River and the very high water flows.”