We all remember the record dry summer we had with no snow melt, Vancouver Island rivers so low they were closed to angling in order to protect fish stocks, Island communities so dry they instigated high level water restrictions, and water in the Upper Campbell Reservoir so low it dipped to below the lip of the Strathcona Dam intake.
All of it symptomatic of a bona fide drought. Right?
Well, maybe not. In the end, BC Hydro’s water supply year – running from October to September – for the Campbell River system finished off at 116 per cent of average, i.e., slightly more than average.
How could that be? Because the record dry summer made us forget about the wet winter.
You can thank the storms from October 2014 to March 2015, according to BC Hydro’s John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project October newsletter for the better than averge water year. That’s when most of the water in the system came in the form of rainstorms.
“The past 12 months were a tale of two extremes that, combined, resulted in nearly average water year,” the newsletter reports.
The graph above shows the past 12 water months with the red lines being average and blue being actual.
BC Hydro expects to have to deal with various weather conditions at the John Hart site such as site water treatment and run-off from storms, to dust control.
In BC Hydro’s 2014/2015 water supply year, InPower BC successfully dealt with record wet to record dry within a 12-month period. BC Hydro’s records go back about 50 years.