BC Hydro is once again extending a public safety advisory to stay away from the Campbell River this week. Pictured: Elk Falls by Stephen Watson/BC Hydro

BC Hydro is once again extending a public safety advisory to stay away from the Campbell River this week. Pictured: Elk Falls by Stephen Watson/BC Hydro

Water release increases on Campbell River system in anticipation of heavy rains

Atmospheric rivers anticipated for Wednesday, Saturday and next Tuesday

BC Hydro once again issuing a public safety advisory, due to high river flows, to stay away from Elk Falls Canyon and the Campbell River through Dec. 3.

Temporary safety signage is in place along the river.

“We are closely following three potential atmospheric rivers that are forecasted to hit the coast,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Steephen Watson.

One is forecasted for Wednesday (Nov. 24) afternoon into Thursday, then Saturday (Nov. 27), and then potentially another on Tuesday, (Nov. 30).

“They may be smaller atmospheric rivers with the exception of the Saturday event, as it looks stronger and may stall in the region,” Watson said. “They will also come with high freezing levels to 2,500 metres so there will be snowmelt on top of the rain. These systems can shift north or south, intensify, or diminish, and the actual water inflows into the Campbell River system into next week may shift significantly.”

BC hydro is currently discharging 128 cubic metres per second (m3/s) from the John Hart facilities down the Campbell River. The John Hart powerhouse has been running at full capacity for weeks. The three dams and generating stations are generally running in tandem. BC Hydro increased the water releases downstream of the three dams Tuesday night, with the Elk Falls Canyon below the John Hart Dam moving from 4 m3/s to 100 m3/s. The total Campbell River flow will then be about 224 m3/s. We hope to hold at this level until the systems pass.

RELATED: BC Hydro extends heavy current warnings for the Campbell River

“Our hydrologists are forecasting a daily average of about 300 m3/s coming into the system starting Thursday into early next week,” Watson said. “With the current seven-day water inflow forecast this flow increase may control the Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake from going too high. This forecast can change upward and downward should conditions change.”

The Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake is currently at 219.05 metres, down from the high a few weeks ago of about 219.9 metres. The reservoir generally operates between 212 metres to 220.5 metres. There is a flood buffer zone from 220.5 metres and 222 metres, and should the reservoir move into this zone, downstream discharges would need to increase to help control the reservoir level. The current forecast has the reservoir around 220 metres by early next week.

If the forecast changes significantly, and operations need to change with it, BC Hydro will issue another operational update.

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