Campbell River reservoir highest it’s been since 2005

Significant snowmelt occurring in the watershed

The water levels in the Upper Campbell Reservoir and Buttle Lake are the highest they’ve at this time of year since 2005.

BC Hydro says there is an abundance of water in the Campbell River system.

“The warm weather has significantly increased the snowmelt in the mountains and that water is entering the reservoirs at a fairly high rate,” BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson says.

Reservoir levels are nearly full and the Campbell River flow is higher than the fisheries target for this time of year. These high water conditions will likely last through to early July.

The Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle has not been this high at this time of year since 2005, and the Campbell River flow hasn’t been this high for this time of year since 2012 and 2007, watson says.

The Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake is currently at 219.3 metres and slowly rising. It has come up about a metre in the past seven days and will likely be around 219.7 metres by the weekend. When the reservoir hits 220.5 metres it is considered full.

The recreation target for the summer season, starting June 21, is between 217 metres and 220.5 metres, though generally the reservoir is considered ideal for summer recreation at around 219.5 metres.

“Snowmelt in May has put us ahead of schedule in meeting this reservoir level range and we are trying to manage the reservoir so it stays below 220 metres, as above these levels, shoreline erosion may occur,” Watson says.

The Lower Campbell Reservoir/McIvor Lake is also near full for this time of year, at 177.3 metres, and will likely fluctuate in the 177.3 m to 177.8 metre range through June.

The significant snowmelt has resulted in about 200 to 240 cubic metres squared (m3/s) of water continually flowing into the reservoir over the past week.

A few days ago, BC Hydro increased the water discharge through the system and down the Campbell River from 100 m3/s to 110 m3/s. The company plans to maintain flows in the 100 m3/s to 124 m3/s range through into early July. The Quinsam River is also adding water into the Campbell River.

For public safety, BC Hydro asks river recreation users to be cautious around the Campbell River through June.