Water levels and currents along the Puntledge River, including at Nymph Falls (pictured) will rise throughout the course of the next month. (Black Press file photo)

Puntledge River flows to increase during the next month

Anticipated rains this weekend, then planned water releases, will make for faster currents

BC Hydro expects to be releasing water throughout the weekend, due to expected rain.

“We are anticipating some decent rain into the weekend and run-off into the Comox Lake Reservoir,” said BC Hydro stakeholder engagement advisor Stephen Watson, in a press release. “We have been conserving water over the past few week so we can have the reservoir full in June, and the reservoir level is near full. To control the reservoir level from free-spilling over the dam we may likely release extra water from our Comox Dam spillway gates. The public is advised to be cautious around the Puntledge River from Saturday through Monday.”

The Puntledge River Generating Station will be operating at full capacity Friday (June 8), which will in turn increase the Puntledge River flow rate to approximately twice its usual rate (from about 15 m3/s to about 30 m3/s).

“We may increase the total river flow to up to 50 m3/s through Monday to control the reservoir level,” said Watson. “This decision will be based on actual water inflows into the reservoir. The Comox Lake Reservoir is at 135.2 m and slowly rising. Our goal is to maintain the level below about 135.3 m, which is considered full.

River flows to increase Tuesday

The Chinook migration and spawning flows are starting up the week of June 12.

This is the time of year for the summer Chinook salmon migration flows to enable them to move up the five kilometre stretch of the Puntledge River from the generating station to the Puntledge River diversion dam, and ultimately into the Comox Lake reservoir. There will be five, two-day releases, starting June 12 and 13 and then taking place each Tuesday and Wednesday until July 12.

From June 12 through to July 12, on each Tuesday and Wednesday, a public safety caution advisory is in place for the Barber’s Hole, Nymph Falls and Stotan Falls stretch of the river as flows will be more than double the normal. River flows at this location will go from about 6 m3/s to up to 17 m3/s. Temporary safety signage will be in place.

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