BC Hydro is warning the public to stay away from the Campbell River this week as the utility company releases water at a rate 11 times higher than normal.
“After a wet October, we are beginning November in a similar fashion with significant storm activity forecasted through the week,” says BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson. “In response, beginning this evening (yesterday), BC Hydro will initiate a flood risk management water release through the system and below the John HartDam down Elk Falls Canyon.”
The Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake has risen about four metres since Oct. 12 when all these rains started. Part of the reason for the increase was the maintenance work to generators at the Strathcona generating station. With the forecasted storms, the spill down the Elk Falls section of the Campbell River will increase from about four cubic metres per second to about 45 cubic metres per second – an approximately 11-fold increase, Watson said. Depending on how the storms track and the actual water flows into the Campbell River system, the water release below John Hart dam may go as high as 110 cubic metres per second this weekend.
“BC Hydro requests the public to stay away from the Campbell River beginning Tuesday evening through into next week,” Watson said.
The most dangerous section of the river is above Elk Falls due to wet and slippery conditions, so the public is warned to stay a safe distance away from the fast flowing water. Safety signage will be in place.
“Please view Elk Falls from the safety of the suspension bridge,” Watson said. “This will provide a good viewing opportunity.”