Comox Lake water level is only at 131.8 metres, 1.5 metres below average for this time of year. (Stephen Watson/Twitter)

BC Hydro working in conservation mode at Comox dam due to low water levels

The water inflow is at a new 50 year low for this time of year

Typically at this time of year, BC Hydro’s power generators would be running near maximum capacity, but a dry spring has meant below average water levels.

Less precipitation and colder weather has resulted in low Comox Lake levels and the lowest water inflow in the last 50 years.

According to Stephen Watson, stakeholder engagement advisor with BC Hydro, the system is being operated in full water conservation mode. February’s precipitation was only 36 per cent of normal causing the reservoir level to be about 1.5 metres below average for this time of year. So far, the beginning of March has been the driest it’s been in 40 years on record.

This is following a wet January that brought the reservoir up to a high of 134.3 metres, necessitating flood risk management operations. The reservoir is currently at 131.8 metres.

“I wouldn’t say it’s rare that at this time of year we’re generating at a less amount, but what’s different is how things have changed,” he said. “Coming from mid-January, basically the fall into the early winter was wet and mild as everyone knows but it just really shifted to cold weather beginning of February.”

In mid-February, they dropped their power generation down to 40 per cent of capacity – around 9 megawatts – and more recently, it dropped even further to one-third of capacity – around 7 megawatts.

The amount of water being released from the Comox Dam has also dropped, only allowing enough water to flow to keep the fish habitat sufficiently covered.

“The challenge is that it could be tough as it goes through the spring and in particular towards the late summer in terms of conserving water for all the various water use interests,” said Watson.

However, Watson is still hopeful for more rain into the beginning of spring to get water levels higher.

The Puntledge River system isn’t the only system on the Island suffering from a “winter drought.” Watson says all Vancouver Island watersheds are in the same boat, as well as some on the mainland.

Just Posted

Comox Valley teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students

Comox Valley rider top Island fundraiser for hospice bike ride

The Valley’s Raida Bolton rode in her inaugural ride in memory of her dad

Ringworm outbreak closes Comox petting zoo for a second time

Town staff discovered the infection in Pepper, an Alpine goat, on July 22.

Cumberland fined for wastewater non-compliance issues

Council moves to get legal advice and appeal penalties of more than $85,000

Comox celebrates Pride Week

On Monday, July 22, Mayor Russ Arnott raised the Pride Flag at… Continue reading

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Cumberland has Pride

Pride Flag raised in village

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Vancouver Island man wanted after walking away from halfway house in Victoria

Warrant issued for Jesse Goodale, convicted of aggravated assault

Most Read