The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) is encouraging residents connected to the Comox Valley water system to conserve water during the biannual fish screen cleaning on the Puntledge Diversion Dam scheduled from Feb. 3 to 5.
The fish screens positioned in the BC Hydro penstock at the Puntledge Diversion Dam require two cleanings per year.
This dam, located about 3.7 kilometres downstream of the Comox Lake dam, is where the water is diverted from the river into a pipeline that travels five kilometres to the generating station and back into the river.
The purpose of the screens is to screen fish that enter the pipeline and return them back into the Puntledge River. The annual spring cleaning is usually scheduled for April each year as grass, algae and debris get lodged into the screens.
For 2014, in working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and seeing the 2013 outmigration of salmon happening earlier in the season, BC Hydro has moved the cleaning up to February so it’s more effective.
BC Hydro has set the dates of Feb. 3 to0 5 to dewater the pipeline and clean the screens.
During those three days, the CVRD will be required to pull water from the Puntledge River and not the BC Hydro pipeline.
“The CVRD is not expecting to move to a higher stage of restrictions during this time as the winter months are the lowest water-use period of the year,” said Koreen Gurak, CVRD’s manager of communications. “However, we’re asking residents to do their part to conserve water to ensure that flows remain as low as possible.”
Due to the altered schedule for fish screen cleaning, BC Hydro will not need to dewater the penstock in April. Therefore, the CVRD is not anticipating moving to Stage Three water restrictions to support BC Hydro’s spring maintenance in April as traditionally scheduled.
There’s a possibility that another fish screen cleaning will be done in later spring depending on the conditions and the timing of juvenile salmonid outmigration. Working together with BC Hydro, the CVRD will assess the situation and identify the need to move to a higher-stage water restriction at that time.
To keep up-to-date with the latest water restrictions, visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/restrictions.
— Comox Valley Regional District